Final Four: #1 Ray Allen vs. #1 Emeka Okafor

Ray Allen vs. Emeka Okafor

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

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

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

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

Rd 1, defeated Cal Chapman, 354-6

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Emeka Okafor is a great player. He won a National Championship, and is the best shot blocker UConn has ever seen. But as much as I like Meka, Ray Allen has always been, and always will be, my favorite UConn player of all-time.

It’s not just his accolades, and there are plenty. Just as a reminder, he was a two-time All-American, a Big East Player of the Year, USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year, UPI Player of the Year, a 10-time NBA All Star, an NBA Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and he’s made more three-point shots than anyone ever. He’s third on the all-time scoring list, despite the fact that he only spent three seasons at UConn, and he set a single-season UConn record by hitting 115 three-pointers in the 1995–96 season.

Ray Allen will go down as the most successful player ever to come out of UConn. While he may not have a National Championship, he’s got just about ever other award out there. His NBA career is the stuff of legend. And you can’t talk about Ray without talking about his amazing jump shot, and the incredible amount of time and preparation he continues to put in to making it perfect.

Of course, Ray accomplished a lot at UConn. He’s third all-time on the scoring list, and his UConn teams won the Big East regular season every year he played in Storrs. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, his performance in the 1996 Big East Tournament is not one we’ll ever forget.

And just because no other UConn player can claim a credit next to Denzel Washington in a Spike Lee movie, I’ll leave you with this.

Career Points: 1922

Career Rebounds: 601

Career Assists: 105

Career Steals: 159

Career Blocks: 41

#1 Emeka Okafor – (2001-2004)
by Peter Bard

Rd 4, defeated #2 Ben Gordon, 112-35

Rd 3, defeated #4 Doron Sheffer, 134-19

Rd 2, defeated #9 Billy Corley, 139-1

Rd 1, defeated #16 Edmund Saunders, 188-3

This is no knock on Ray Allen; if there was a three-point shooting contests between Earth and Mars, and I had to pick someone to save the human race from invasion with a silky-smooth jumper, Ray is my guy. However, it may come as a surprise to you that this is not the situation, and we’re just talking about who had the better career at UConn.

By now, everything that can be said about these players has been said. So it really comes down to just a couple of things.

Emeka Okafor had more on-court value than Ray Allen. Ray put up some beautiful point totals, but there’s more to this than just scoring. Okafor was more than a competent offensive weapon, and he was also the best defensive player in college basketball. Twice. In addition to that, Okafor was the most dominant rebounder UConn has had in decades.

So now that we’ve made the case for Okafor as an individual, we should be done. But we’re not. ‘Mek also led his team to more success, winning two Big East Championships to Ray’s one, eleven NCAA tournament games to Allen’s seven, and one huge National Championship, which Ray never won.

We can talk about guys setting precedents and who owes what to whom, but the facts are clear: Okafor did more at UConn than Ray Allen. Let your vote reflect that.

Career Points: 1426

Career Rebounds: 1091

Career Assists: 81

Career Steals: 91

Career Blocks: 441

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