Championship: #1 Ray Allen vs. #1 Kemba Walker

Ray Allen vs. Kemba Walker

#1 Ray Allen – (1993-1996)
by Meghan Bard

Rd 5, defeated #1 Emeka Okafor, 132-130

Rd 4, defeated #2 Caron Butler, 140-28

Rd 3, defeated #5 Shabazz Napier, 125-79

Rd 2, defeated #9 Phil Gamble, 179-1

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Rd 1, defeated Cal Chapman, 354-6

Ray Allen is the greatest three-point shooter in the history of the game of basketball. That’s right. I said it. His skill is unquestionable; his preparation is legendary. Despite only three years at UConn, he managed to score nearly 2,000 points. He is also the all-time leader in three-point shooting percentage. Allen is without a doubt the most successful former Husky to play in the NBA. In his final year in Storrs, he was named the 1996 Big East player of the year, and a First Team All-American. And who can forget that amazing off-balance game-winning shot against Allen Iverson and Georgetown in the 1996 Big East Championship.

Career Points: 1922

Career Rebounds: 601

Career Assists: 105

Career Steals: 159

Career Blocks: 41

#1 Kemba Walker – (2008-2011)
by Peter Bard

Rd 5, defeated #1 Donyell Marshall, 225-218

Rd 4, defeated #3 Khalid El-Amin, 136-11

Rd 3, defeated #5 Hasheem Thabeet, 137-2

Rd 2, defeated #8 Kevin Ollie, 142-14

Rd 1, defeated #16 Johnnie Selvie, 197-8

Where to start? Walker came to UConn a blisteringly fast whirling dirvish of a point guard. He lacked discipline, but would make plays that just made you shake your head. His sophomore year, while statistically impressive, was a disappointment for the team, as they missed the NCAA tournament.

Heading into the 2010-2011 season, UConn was looking at another down year. Outside of Walker and sophomore F/C Alex Oriakhi, there was almost no experience on the roster, as the team generally started those two alongside three freshmen.

And then, Kemba happened. I couldn’t even begin to guess what the signature moment was for Walker that season. I read an article before they played Wichita State in the third game of the season that assured me that it wouldn’t be an upset when UConn lost. Of course, UConn won. And then they won again, against #2 Michigan State, thanks in no small part to Kemba’s 30 points. When he scored 29 the next day in an 84-67 drubbing of Kentucky, he’d scored 90 points in three days, and UConn had vaulted from having received 0 votes in the first poll of the season to being #7 in the country as of the second poll.

There were, of course, ups and downs, as UConn struggled through a very tough league schedule, with some highlights along the way (that circus three-pointer against #1 Texas being the among most memorable). Kemba’s legend was cemented in tournament play that year, when he carried the team to Big East Tournament and NCAA titles through what appeared to be sheer force of will. He ended his career 7th all-time in scoring, 6th in steals, and 10th in assists, and he set a program record his junior year with 965 points.

Career Points: 1783

Career Rebounds: 493

Career Assists: 460

Career Steals: 185

Career Blocks: 28

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.


  1. You might want to look over this sentence for Kemba “he set a program record his SENIOR year with 965 points”

  2. Just want to take a second and thank Tyler, Peter Bruce, and Meghan for doing this. I appreciate the time and effort, giving us UConn fans a chance to enjoy March Madness this year and have something fun to follow and look forward to. Your write-ups were fantastic. Even though my pick (Rip) didn’t win, I love all these players and it was great thinking back and remembering how awesome they all were – Donyell, Scotty Burrell, Chris Smith, Doron, Nadav, Supertone… The list goes on. Awesome idea, awesome execution. Thanks, guys!

  3. Kemba Walker single handedly willed his team (that without him lost in the round of 64 the following year) to win an incredibly improbable postseason run that included a big east tourney championship and a national championship.

    Just to show you more how poor this team would have been without him, this was the same team picked preseason #9 in the big east as well as given no national respect with Sports Illustrated picking them to miss the tournament again for the second consecutive year. Even reporters from Connecticut gave them no respect, as I specifically remember one guy saying that they weren’t even going to be the best team in Connecticut, saying that Quinnipiac would be the team going the furthest come March.

    Yes, Ray Allen may forever be more talented than Kemba, whether it be in his college or pro career, but this vote isn’t about the most talented player at UConn. Kemba did everything for UConn, including being the only person to play on two final four teams in UConn history. (Beverly was on the roster in ’09 but there was never a chance that he was going to see minutes that year behind Kemba, A.J. Price, Jerome Dyson, and even Craig Austrie)

    And most of all, Ray Ray might have that memorable smirk, but Kemba had that smile made you fall in love with him and the way he played basketball over and over again.

  4. I voted for Ray because he has better #’s overall. Not in assists but the position he played was one that scores. I think Kemba is great but it isn’t all about which man got the team a final four as it is a TEAM that wins or loses. Ray continues to have an outstanding career and in every poll or opinion out there, ESPN etc, Ray has it. Great player, great heart, great for UConn.

  5. this was easy 2 Final Fours in 3 years and the 2011 5 gms in 5 days was once in a life time….#kemba

  6. Kemba! If it weren’t for him willing this team to a championship, we’d be nearly 10 yrs removed from being Nat’l Champs. We would have a nasty ncaa probation hanging over the program, a pretty dismal conference future and who knows how or if a transition to Ollie would’ve occurred…even though Ray grew the program into a national powerhouse, Kemba was an impressive and absolutely necessary figure in maintaining UConn athletic’s national relevance.

    • I thought we did have trouble with the ncaa. The years of 2008-2011, athletes grades.. Something like that???

      • I’m well aware of the probation. What I meant is that the 2011 championship provided credibility and cemented the program’s/Calhoun’s stature as elite while everything else seemed to be crumbling around us.

        • Sorry for misunderstanding. I disagree though. Outside of Ct not EVERYONE knows the name Kemba Walker yet. But everyone knows the name Ray Allen and they all know he went to UConn.

  7. New one needed to see how shabazz with his 2 championships and staying loyal and keeping uconn relevant for the future stacks up

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