|#2 Richard Hamilton – (1996-1999)
by Peter Bard
Richard “Rip” Hamilton is a man who needs no introduction; his accomplishments surely speak for themselves. One of the most prolific scorers in the history of the program, Hamilton took the baton from Ray Allen and carried it across the finish line in 1999. In addition to being the top player on UConn’s first championship team, Hamilton comes with a litany of individual accolades: two-time Big East Player of the year, First-Team Consensus All-American, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Final Four MVP, Only Guy To Wear A Face Mask Without A Broken Nose, etc.
Rip is also one of the most accomplished professional players ever to play at UConn, having scored over 15,000 points in his 14-season NBA career, a career that includes three All-Star games. Hamilton also is the only former UConn player to lead an NBA Championship team in scoring, performing as the top scorer for the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons in both the regular season and in the playoffs.
Hamilton was always one of my favorite players to watch because his offense was extremely unique. He produced points largely by running around all game long and getting himself open to take mid-range jumpers. For a player who took so many jump shots, he was also adept at getting to the free-throw line, and he excelled there. Basically, he’s made a long career out of superb conditioning, sound fundamentals, and freakishly long arms.
While Art Quimby was a fine player in the Nick at Nite tradition of tight shorts and flattops, he dominated the Yankee Conference in the 1950s, when it was basically all short white guys. It’s hard to imagine that he’d have been able to keep up with the athletes that Rip Hamilton use to embarrass on a regular basis.
Hamilton also had more team success, leading UConn to an Elite Eight as a sophomore (where they lost to a loaded UNC that featured Antawn Jamison and Vince Carter), and to the National Championship as a junior, helping to “shock the world” with a game-high 27 points.
So, as much fun as it would be to troll Jerry Burrus by voting Rip Hamilton out of this tournament, let’s be reasonable here. It’s Rip. Vote for Rip.
Career Points: 2036
Career Rebounds: 464
Career Assists: 266
Career Steals: 134
Career Blocks: 28
|#3 Art Quimby – (1951-1955)
by Meghan Bard
I realize that some of you are rabid Rip Hamilton fans, and I respect that, but I’ve got to make a pitch for Art Quimby, the last pre-Calhoun era player in our bracket.
Guys, Quimby was a rebounding machine. He currently holds the UConn record for rebounds per game at 40! FORTY! The entire UConn squad missed that mark more times than I want to think about this season. Quimby also holds the single season rebound record, with 611, and the all-time career rebounds record with 1,716. Crazy.
But wait! There’s more! Quimby also has the records for average rebounds per game in a single season (24.4) and over his career (21.5). Think about that. Over the course of four years this guy pulled down, on average, more than 20 rebounds per game. That’s absolute madness, in any era. Oh, and did I mention that he led the NCAA in rebounds in his junior AND senior seasons? Because he did.
In the mid-50s, Quimby led the team to four Yankee Conference championships, and he was a three-time First-Team All Conference selection. His teams made the NCAA Tournament, and in 1955, earned UConn’s first selection to the NIT.
As a high school senior, Quimby, a New London native, led Bulkeley high school to an undefeated season, winning the state and New England championships. Then he blew off the University of Kentucky to come to Storrs. So, you know, that’s awesome. Quimby had the choice to attend pretty much any school he wanted, and he picked UConn after getting to go trout fishing on his recruiting visit. How do you not love that?
After college, the Rochester Royals got Quimby in the 1955 NBA Draft. But professional basketball wasn’t the gold mine it is today (his contract was for $7,800), and Quimby instead chose to join the Army Reserves, and work as an educator. Quimby spent 30 years with the reserves, at one point commanding a brigade of soldiers. He worked as a teacher, a guidance counselor and a superintendent, among many positions. At one point, he was responsible for all the vocational schools in Connecticut. I realize this has nothing to do with basketball, but Quimby, who passed away in 2010, accomplished a lot off the court, as well as on it.
Career Points: 1398
Career Rebounds: 1716
Career Assists: Records not kept
Career Steals: Records not kept
Career Blocks: Records not kept
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