UConn Men Notebook: Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton Among Hall of Fame Nominees

Two UConn men’s basketball greats are a step closer to the Hall of Fame.

Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton are among the nominees for the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. The list of 45 players, coaches and referees was released on Thursday and will be considered by the Hall’s North America Committee.

Those who advance to the final 2018 ballot will be announced during NBA All-Star weekend in February. The inductees will be revealed during the NCAA Final Four on April 2. The Class of 2018 will be inducted in Springfield in September.

Allen holds the NBA record for 3-point attempts and makes, hitting 40 percent of his 7,429 shots. He averaged 18.9 points in 1,300 regular-season games between 1996 and 2014. Allen was a 10-time All-Star, won NBA championships with the Celtics and Heat and also an Olympic gold medal in 2000.

In three seasons at UConn, Allen led the Huskies to an 87-12 record, three Big East regular season titles and as far as the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 1,922 points as a Husky and was the leading vote-getter for the program’s all-century team.

"There may not be anyone in the game of basketball who has worked at his craft any more diligently than Ray Allen," said former UConn coach Jim Calhoun, himself a Hall of Famer, in a statement released by UConn. “Ray is as talented an athlete as I've ever coached and his remarkable work ethic allowed him to continue to define and refine his superior skills as he evolved into the greatest shooter in NBA history. Ray Allen is an authentic Hall of Famer.”

Hamilton, also a member of the all-century team, was a key figure on the Huskies’ 1999 national championship team, the first of the program’s four titles. A two-time Big East player of the year, he scored 2,036 points, second in school history, and averaged 24.2 points in the six NCAA Tournament games in 1999.

“Wow, somebody wake me up,” Hamilton tweeted. “Speechless.”

In the NBA from 1999-2013, Hamilton helped the Pistons win the championship in 2004 and was an All-Star three times.

"In the modern era of basketball Rip Hamilton is probably the best mid-range shooter to have played the game in the last 20-plus years," Calhoun said. “Rip was MVP of the Final Four in leading us to our first NCAA Championship and he also won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons. Rip was constantly in motion, he could run forever, he got open, and he could score. A superb performer at both the collegiate and professional level who won the ultimate prize in both college and the NBA."

Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Grant Hill are among the other players nominated.

Former UConn coach Dee Rowe, who was presented with the Hall of Fame’s John W. Bunn Award for Lifetime Achievement, has been nominated for the second year in a row in the contributors’ category.

Tyler Trillo: Connecticut ’Cat

Tyler Trillo, a Southbury native who scored 1,380 points during his career at Terryville High, is in his second year on the Arizona basketball team as a walk-on.

“I've always been so impressed with Tyler's willingness to work on and improve his skills,” said Mark Fowler, who coached Trillo at Terryville. “Every year in high school he was fully committed to improving weaknesses in his game during the off-season, something that most players do not do. It is a testament to his fundamentals and work ethic that he has made it this far.”

Trillo, 5 feet 11, began at Division III Roger Williams, then transferred to Arizona, playing in eight games last season. He has been in one game so far this season, playing five minutes and hitting a three-pointer against Northern Arizona. Trillo did not get into the game against UConn. … Freshman Isaiah Whaley made his first career start for UConn. He played only five minutes, however. … Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, winner of two World Series with the Red Sox, was at the game, sitting courtside. … The Huskies had five assists, and 18 turnovers, so they remain “upside down,” as coach Kevin Ollie says.

… The Huskies did a fairly good job containing Deandre Ayton, who could be the No.1 pick in the draft. Ayton was averaging 21.3 points and 11.2 rebounds but managed nine and seven in 27 minutes. … Christian Vital led UConn with seven rebounds.

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