UConn Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

Thad Novak@@ThadNovakCorrespondent INovember 29, 2011

UConn Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History

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    The UConn Huskies are defending the third national championship in school history, but the hero of that title team is already off to the NBA. Mere months after Kemba Walker’s incomparable performances in the Big East tournament and March Madness, it’s clear that his legacy will mark him as one of the greatest players ever to don a Huskies uniform.

    Although backcourt stars like Walker and Ray Allen have been predominant among the Huskies’ legends, UConn has had its share of great post players as well. Standouts like Emeka Okafor and Jake Voskuhl have played key roles of their own in UConn’s sparkling NCAA tournament history.

    Read on for a closer look at Walker, Allen and the rest of the 50 greatest hoopsters ever to play for UConn.

50. Nadav Henefeld (1989-90)

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    Nadav Henefeld stayed just one season at UConn, but the former Israeli junior national team star made his mark as a Husky. Henefeld still holds the UConn record with an average of 3.7 steals per game for a single season.

    After his strong showing at UConn, Henefeld opted to turn pro in his home country, playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He would go on to play for the team for 12 seasons.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

49. Rod Sellers (1988-92)

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    Rod Sellers was one of the few UConn centers who contributed on offense as well as defense. The 6’9” Sellers is sixth in Husky history with a career field-goal percentage of 54.8.

    Sellers went undrafted out of college. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

48. Earl Kelley (1982-86)

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    Though he battled injuries early in his career, Earl Kelley bounced back to become a go-to scorer for the Huskies. His 1,592 points place him 15th in UConn history.

    Despite his impressive scoring punch, Kelley went undrafted out of UConn. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

47. Donny Marshall (1991-95)

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    Inevitably stuck in the shadow of more-celebrated teammate Donyell Marshall, Donny Marshall was a key contributor in his own right on Jim Calhoun’s first Elite Eight squad. The 6’7” SF scored 15.8 points and pulled down 5.8 boards per game that season, not to mention picking up just over one steal a night.

    Marshall’s lack of an effective three-point shot kept him from establishing himself as a pro. He played parts of five NBA seasons with the Cavs and Nets, but never scored more than 3.1 points a game.

46. Gavin Edwards (2006-10)

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    Though he wasn’t a starter until his senior season, Gavin Edwards made his chances at UConn count. His career field-goal percentage of 59.3 is the second-best all-time at the school.

    Despite his admirable touch around the basket, the 6’10” Edwards didn’t raise many NBA eyebrows. He went undrafted but played for Springfield in the D-League last season.

45. Mike McKay (1978-82)

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    Swingman Mike McKay made a statement as a scorer even in the high-powered ranks of UConn guards.

    McKay’s 1,633 points are 12th all-time for a Husky, and he holds a dubious school record for having broken the 1,000-point barrier in a game in which he scored all of four points.

    McKay was a second-round pick of the Jazz, but was released at the end of training camp. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

44. Jeff Carr (1975-79)

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    One of the few Huskies to average a double-double for his career, center Jeff Carr was most effective as a rebounder. Carr’s 842 career boards place him 10th in Husky history.

    Undrafted out of college, Carr tried out with the Nets but failed to make the roster. He never played in the NBA.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

43. Rudy Gay (2004-06)

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    Although he stayed just two seasons in Storrs, Rudy Gay’s prodigious athleticism was obvious from the moment he stepped on the floor.

    Gay averaged 13.6 points and 5.9 rebounds a game in a Huskies’ uniform, earning second-team All-America recognition as a sophomore.

    Drafted eighth overall by the Grizzlies, Gay hasn’t disappointed at the NBA level. After a shaky rookie year as a part-time starter, the 6’9” SF has scored 18 points a game or better for four straight seasons, along with career averages of 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals a night.

42. A.J. Price (2006-09)

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    Although his career in Storrs was nearly derailed by his idiotic decision to steal laptops from UConn dorm rooms, A.J. Price bounced back to become an outstanding point guard for the Huskies.

    Also a fine scorer who averaged 13 points a game for his career, Price’s 469 assists are the ninth-highest total in program history.

    A second-round pick of the Pacers, Price has proven an admirable fit for Indiana’s backcourt-focused, up-tempo style. In two seasons as a backup, he’s averaged 6.9 points and 2.0 assists a night.

41. Jake Voskuhl (1996-00)

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    Although Jake Voskuhl had a fine scoring touch, he didn’t get enough shots to become an effective scorer at UConn. What he did get was rebounds, a career total of 880 of them (ninth-best in program history).

    A second-round pick of the Bulls, Voskuhl would go on to a journeyman career as an NBA backup. In nine seasons with five teams (most effectively the Suns), Voskuhl averaged as many as 6.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a night.

40. Bob Staak (1968-71)

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    Swingman Bob Staak may not have been able to put a then-unnoticed UConn program in the national spotlight, but it wasn’t for lack of scoring. Staak’s career average of 18.1 points a game ties him for seventh on the school’s all-time list.

    Undrafted out of UConn, Staak signed with the ABA’s Pittsburgh Condors. He was cut in the preseason, however, and never played in either the ABA or NBA, though he did go on to a successful coaching career at both the college and NBA levels.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

39. Travis Knight (1992-96)

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    One of the few true seven-footers to grace a UConn roster, Travis Knight used his length to particular advantage on the defensive end. His 179 career blocks rank seventh in program history.

    Although Knight was never very productive in the NBA, his sheer size kept him employed for seven years. He was overwhelmingly a backup, though as a part-time starter in Boston he did average 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.

38. Al Cooper (1956-59)

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    Al Cooper didn’t put a whole lot of points on the scoreboard, but on the backboard, there have been few better Huskies. Cooper averaged 10.6 rebounds a game at UConn, the seventh-highest figure in school history.

    At 6’7”, Cooper had fine size for an NBA rebounder of his era, but not the shooting touch to match. He went undrafted and never played in the league.

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37. Caron Butler (2000-02)

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    A superior defender who averaged 2.1 steals a game, Caron Butler also made a mark as a scorer. His career average of 18 points a night (over two seasons) places him ninth in UConn history.

    In his nine NBA seasons, Butler has established himself as one of the league’s most well-rounded players.

    The two-time All-Star has averaged as many as 20.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game, and even in last year’s injury-shortened campaign with the Mavs, he scored 15 points a game and shot a career-high 43.1 percent from three-point range.

36. Ricky Moore (1995-99)

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    A defensive stopper as Khalid El-Amin’s backcourt mate on the 1999 national champs, Ricky Moore was a valuable offensive weapon as well. Moore’s 510 career assists tie him for sixth in the UConn record books, one spot ahead of El-Amin.

    Undrafted out of college, Moore landed in the D-League for one season. He never made it to the NBA, likely because of his unremarkable size (6’2”) and weak jump shot.

35. Phil Gamble (1985-1989)

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    Cliff Robinson’s running mate for four years at UConn, Phil Gamble was one of the great three-point shooters in Husky history.

    He’s tied for second in the school record books with 23 consecutive games hitting at least one trey, and his career percentage of 40.6 from beyond the arc is fifth all-time for the program.

    Gamble went undrafted out of UConn, and though the 76ers invited him to a tryout, he never played in the NBA.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

34. Ron Hrubala (1968-71)

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    Like so many of UConn’s best big men, Ron Hrubala wasn’t on the roster for his scoring. Hrubala posted a career average of 11.1 rebounds a game, the fifth-highest mark for any Husky.

    Despite his impressive rebounding numbers, Hrubala went undrafted out of UConn. He never played in the NBA.

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33. Cliff Robinson (1985-89)

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    A 6’10” forward with a terrific shooting touch, Cliff Robinson was a first-class offensive weapon. A respectable rebounder who averaged 6.1 boards a night for his career, Robinson scored 1,664 points in a Huskies’ uniform, the ninth-best total in program history.

    Drafted by the Blazers, Robinson became a fixture on Portland’s playoff teams of the early ‘90s. He developed a lethal three-point shot as a pro, averaging as many as 21.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game over a distinguished 18-year NBA career.

32. Hilton Armstrong (2002-06)

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    Even at 6’11”, Hilton Armstrong was never much of a scorer, but that wasn’t his job with the Huskies. As a designated defensive stopper, Armstrong blocked 191 career shots, sixth in UConn history.

    Armstrong has yet to live up to being chosen No. 12 overall by the Hornets, but he’s played just enough defense to hang around five seasons and counting in the NBA.

    He split last year between the Wizards and Hawks, but posted combined averages of just 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds a game.

31. Kevin Freeman (1997-00)

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    No Husky has played in more games than the 140 in which Kevin Freeman appeared. The hard-working forward racked up 913 rebounds in that time, the eighth-best total in school history.

    Freeman didn’t have the offensive game to impress NBA scouts, and he never played in the league. After an 11-year career overseas, he’s just returned to his alma mater this fall, serving as assistant director of basketball administration.

30. Karl Hobbs (1980-84)

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    It’s tough to find a home as a 5’8” basketball player unless you can pass, but that certainly wasn’t a problem for Karl Hobbs.

    The tiny point guard put up some big numbers in Storrs, finishing his career with a then-school record 534 assists (still good for fifth on the school’s charts).

    Unsurprisingly, Hobbs’ small stature kept him out of the NBA. He went into coaching, leading George Washington University for the last decade before accepting a position this season as director of basketball operations at his alma mater.

29. John Thomas (1972-76)

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    John Thomas may have struggled as an interior scorer, but he had no trouble making his presence felt on the glass. Thomas stands fourth in UConn history with a career average of 11.2 rebounds per game.

    Though Thomas was drafted by the Bulls, he was unable to make the team in tryouts. He never played in the NBA.

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28. Josh Boone (2003-06)

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    A key reserve on the 2004 national champs, Josh Boone would blossom into an outstanding physical presence on the interior for the Huskies.

    He averaged as many as 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds a game in Storrs, and his 222 career blocks are the fourth-highest total in school history.

    A first-round pick of the Nets, Boone was a part-time starter over four seasons in New Jersey, averaging as many as 8.2 points and 7.3 boards a night. He spent 2010-11 playing in China.

27. Bill Corley (1965-68)

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    Center Bill Corley was a terrific post scorer who still holds the UConn record with 51 points in a game (against New Hampshire in 1968). He wasn’t too shabby as a rebounder either, pulling in 13.7 boards a game—the third-best average in Husky history.

    Drafted by the then-San Diego Rockets, Corley never played in the NBA, but he didn’t leave basketball behind. He went on to a touring career with the Harlem Wizards.

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26. Bob Boyd (1968-71)

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    One of the most consistent scorers UConn has ever seen, Bob Boyd broke 1,000 career points in just 53 games (second-fastest in school history). His career scoring average of 19.0 points per game ties him with Ray Allen for fourth all-time on the Huskies’ charts.

    Undrafted out of UConn, Boyd never played professionally. He did have a brief coaching career at the high school and Division III college levels.

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25. Jerome Dyson (2006-10)

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    Jerome Dyson was an outstanding offensive player who scored 1,630 career points in Storrs, but his calling card was defense. Dyson’s 188 steals place him fifth in UConn history.

    Undrafted by the NBA, Dyson had a solid year in the D-League in 2010-11. He scored 15.5 points and averaged 1.6 steals per game for the Tulsa 66ers.

24. Jeff Adrien (2005-09)

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    Undersized for a power forward at 6’7”, Jeff Adrien made every inch count. In three years as a starter, he never averaged under nine rebounds per game, and he finished with 1,126 boards, the fourth-highest total for a Husky all-time.

    Though he went undrafted, Adrien has battled his way into an NBA chance. He split last season between the D-League and the Golden State Warriors, averaging 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds a game with the big club.

23. Kevin Ollie (1991-95)

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    In three seasons as a starter in Storrs, Kevin Ollie never averaged under 5.6 assists a night. Although he was never any kind of a scoring option, Ollie’s passing earned him a place in the school record books, where his 619 career assists place him third all-time.

    Undrafted out of college, Ollie caught on with Dallas in the fall of 1997. He would go on to play parts of 13 NBA seasons as an unremarkable (though consistent) backup for 11 different franchises.

22. Scott Burrell (1989-93)

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    A valuable scorer who racked up 1,526 career points, Scott Burrell was even more dangerous on defense. The 6’7” swingman holds the UConn records with 310 career steals and an average of 2.6 thefts per game.

    An Achilles tendon injury in Burrell’s third NBA season reduced him to a bench player for most of his pro career. In eight years with the Hornets, Warriors, Bulls and Nets, he proved to be a high-energy contributor off the bench, winning a title as a Chicago reserve in 1998.

21. Albert Mouring (1997-01)

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    Even in UConn’s rich backcourt history, you’ll find few pure shooters to match Albert Mouring. The 6’3” guard holds the school record with a career free-throw percentage of 84.2, and his career three-point shooting mark (41.1 percent) is third-best all-time for the program.

    Unfortunately, like many great college shooters, Mouring didn’t have the defensive acumen to cut it at the next level. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

20. Corny Thompson (1978-82)

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    One of the best all-around frontcourt players in UConn history, 6’8” Corny Thompson was a force on both ends of the floor. He scored 1,810 points in his career (fifth-best for a Husky) and pulled down 1,017 rebounds (sixth).

    Thompson was a third-round pick of the Mavericks, but he rarely got on the floor for them, playing just 11.8 minutes a night. In 44 career NBA games, he averaged 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds a contest.

    Image from uconnhooplegends.com

19. Donyell Marshall (1991-94)

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    For all Donyell Marshall’s 6’9” frame, he made his biggest mark with his outstanding jump shot.

    Marshall posted the third-highest single-season average in UConn history with 25.1 points a game as a junior, helping him finish 11th all-time among Huskies with 1,646 career points.

    A deadly three-point shooter as a pro, Marshall developed into a dangerous rebounder as well. He averaged as many as 15.4 points and 10 rebounds a night in 15 seasons as a part-time starter for eight NBA teams.

18. Rashad Anderson (2002-06)

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    One of the best sixth men in Husky history, Rashad Anderson holds the school record with 11 20-point games off the bench. The three-point gunner also knocked down more treys (276) than any UConn player ever.

    Undrafted out of UConn, Anderson has never appeared in the NBA. He did play 24 games in the D-League in 2009-10.

17. Hasheem Thabeet (2006-09)

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    As many Big East foes learned to their chagrin, talent and experience will only get you so far against a 7’3” shot-blocking center.

    Tanzanian import Hasheem Thabeet holds UConn’s career record for field-goal percentage (61.1), but he’s better remembered as a masterful defender who blocked 417 shots (second-best all-time for a Husky).

    Thabeet is still just 24 years old, so he has time to redeem his reputation as one of the all-time worst draft busts at No. 2 overall.

    The Grizzlies, though, had had enough of him by last season, shipping him to Houston (where he would play just two games) in the Shane Battier deal.

16. Marcus Williams (2003-06)

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    He may not have been much of a threat to shoot, but Marcus Williams was the best pure distributor in UConn history. The 6’3” point guard’s career average of 7.3 assists per game is a school record…by a ridiculous margin of 1.8 assists over second place.

    Williams was the third of five Huskies selected in the 2006 draft, going at No. 22 overall to the Nets.

    He wasn’t a terrible option as a backup point guard—he averaged as many as 6.8 points and 3.3 assists a game—but lasted just four years in the NBA before heading overseas to continue his career.

15. Tony Hanson (1973-77)

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    Tony Hanson led UConn to its first NCAA tournament berth in nine years as a junior, but it’s his individual accomplishments that will be remembered in Storrs.

    Hanson holds the Husky record with 784 career field goals made, and his 1,990 career points (a record when he graduated by over 300) are still good for third all-time.

    Hanson was drafted by the Jazz, but didn’t make it out of the preseason. He never played in the NBA.

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14. Taliek Brown (2000-04)

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    The point guard who ran the offense for the 2004 national champs, Taliek Brown was an unimpressive scorer but a brilliant distributor. He holds the Huskies’ career record with 722 assists.

    Like many great college point guards, Brown had his pro ambitions short-circuited by his lack of scoring punch. He went undrafted and never played in the NBA.

13. Toby Kimball (1962-65)

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    An elite rebounder who was also a serious scoring threat, 6’6” Toby Kimball was one of UConn’s most well-rounded post players. He’s second in school history with 1,324 rebounds (17.9 per game), and his 38 consecutive double-doubles are a Huskies’ record.

    As a pro, Kimball (a third-round pick of the Celtics) never scored more than 11 points a game, but his nose for rebounding carried over more successfully. He topped seven rebounds per game in four of his seven full seasons with the Rockets, Bucks, Kings and 76ers.

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12. Doron Sheffer (1993-96)

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    As pure point guards go, they don’t get much better than Doron Sheffer. Sheffer ranks second in UConn history in both steals per game (1.9) and assists per game (5.5).

    Although Sheffer was drafted by the Clippers, he opted instead to return home to Israel and play for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He never appeared in the NBA.

11. Walt Dropo (1941-47)

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    Center Walt Dropo was one of the first real stars of UConn basketball, and few Huskies of any era have come close to his ability to put points on the scoreboard. Dropo stands second in school history with a career scoring average of 20.7 points per game.

    Dropo never played in the then-new NBA, but the three-sport athlete (drafted by Providence in the NBA and the NFL's Bears) had other plans for his pro career anyway.

    He would go on to win the 1950 Rookie of the Year award as a Red Sox first baseman, leading the league with 144 RBI to kick off a 13-year career as a major-league slugger.

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10. Tate George (1986-90)

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    Tate George is best remembered for his stunning NCAA tournament buzzer-beater to defeat Clemson in the 1990 Sweet 16, but he’s also the best all-around point guard in UConn history. George is second all-time among Huskies in both assists (677) and steals (201).

    At the NBA level, George’s unimpressive scoring kept him off the floor, and he averaged all of 11.4 minutes a game in four seasons with the Nets (who drafted him in the first round) and Bucks. At his best, he averaged just 6.0 points and 2.3 assists per game.

9. Wes Bialosuknia (1964-67)

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    At 6’2”, Wes Bialosuknia wasn't any too big for a shooting guard, but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most prolific scorers UConn has ever seen.

    Bialosuknia graduated with a then-school record 1,673 points (now good for eighth place), and he still holds the Husky records with a career scoring average of 23.6 points per game and a single-season average of 28.

    A fourth-round pick of the Hawks, Bialosuknia opted for the ABA instead. He lasted one season with the Oakland Oaks, but he did average 8.7 points in just 17.5 minutes a night.

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8. Art Quimby (1951-55)

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    Standing just 6’5”, Art Quimby was actually an average-sized center in the early ‘50s. He was also the greatest rebounder UConn has ever seen, setting school records that still stand for boards in a career (1,716) and career rebounding average (21.5 per game).

    Although he was drafted by the Royals, Quimby didn’t have enough of a shot to complement his nose for rebounds. He never played in the NBA.

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7. Chris Smith (1988-92)

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    One of Jim Calhoun’s first recruiting coups at UConn, shooting guard Chris Smith was a dominant scoring threat at 6’3”. Smith topped 17 points a game in each of his last three seasons, finishing with a Husky-record 2,145 career points.

    Drafted by the Timberwolves, Smith didn’t get a lot of minutes in a backcourt that already featured Doug West and Michael Williams. He averaged just 5.1 points a game over three seasons as a Minnesota backup.

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6. Khalid El-Amin (1997-00)

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    Until last season, Khalid El-Amin had a claim to being the best combo guard in UConn history. The 5’10” El-Amin led the Huskies to their first national title in 1999, scored 1,650 points (10th in school history) and dished out 479 career assists (eighth).

    At the NBA level, El-Amin’s small stature and weight issues kept him from living up to his college performance. He lasted just one season as a Bulls reserve, averaging 6.3 points and 2.9 assists a game.

5. Ben Gordon (2001-04)

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    One of the heroes of UConn’s 2004 national title team, Ben Gordon poured in 18.5 points a game and dished out 4.5 assists a night for that squad. In just three seasons in Storrs, he climbed to sixth place on the school’s scoring charts with 1,795 career points.

    A prolific scorer at the NBA level as well, Gordon has averaged as many as 21.4 points a game despite coming off the bench for most of his career.

    After five successful seasons with the Bulls, he’s struggled since signing with Detroit, averaging just 11.2 points a game in 2010-11.

4. Kemba Walker (2008-11)

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    An instant legend for his postseason heroics in winning last season’s national title, Kemba Walker also turned in some pretty impressive regular-season performances in his three seasons in Storrs.

    His 501 career free throws made are a school record, and he finished with 1,783 points (seventh in program history) and 460 assists (10th).

    Walker landed with the Bobcats as the No. 9 overall selection in last spring’s draft. How well he’ll fit in with similarly-skilled D.J. Augustin in the Charlotte backcourt remains to be seen.

3. Emeka Okafor (2001-04)

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    The defensive heart of the 2004 national champions, Emeka Okafor was the most dominant center UConn has ever had.

    The 6’10” Okafor averaged 10.6 rebounds a game for his career (tied for sixth all-time) while leading the NCAA in blocks twice and shattering the school record with 441 career rejections.

    Okafor’s offensive struggles have kept him from quite living up to his billing as a No. 2 overall pick of the Bobcats, but he’s been outstanding as a rebounder and defender.

    He’s averaged 10.2 points and 1.8 blocks over seven NBA seasons with Charlotte and New Orleans.

2. Ray Allen (1993-96)

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    Few (if any) players in basketball history have had a shooting stroke as pure as Ray Allen’s. The 6’5” guard holds the UConn record with a three-point shooting percentage of 44.8, and his 1,922 points are fourth in school history.

    Allen, who hasn’t exactly fallen off as an NBA shooting guard, saw his crowning achievement come last season as he broke Reggie Miller’s record for career three-pointers made.

    In 15 sensational years with the Bucks, Sonics and Celtics, Allen has scored 22,286 points, fifth among all active players and 24th in league history.

1. Richard Hamilton (1996-99)

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    The scoring star of the 1999 national champs, Rip Hamilton averaged 19.8 points a game for his Huskies’ career (the third best mark in UConn history).

    The 6’6” swingman finished with 2,036 points (second among Huskies all-time), none more memorable than his buzzer-beating put-back to stun Washington in the 1998 Sweet 16.

    As a pro, Hamilton has developed from a dreadful defender into an elite one, making three straight All-Star games from 2006-08 while scoring as many as 20.1 points a game.

    His brilliant Pistons career is likely over after a falling-out with management, but it’s anybody’s guess where he’ll play in 2011-12.