In a month, Ray Allen will join basketball’s legends. But on Friday night, he’ll be a player, suiting up for Jim Calhoun once again.
“I still play Saturdays and Sundays in the winter,” Allen said. “I’m out there with guys who can play. Once you stop playing, you learn that if you don’t use it you lose it. … Not much has changed, the biggest difference is when you get done, it hurts more.”
Allen will join former Huskies, men’s and women’s basketball players, at Calhoun’s Charity All-Star Game, presented by CIGNA, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at 7 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the Mohegan Sun box office, at $12 and $25.
This is the 20th anniversary of the event, which is staged every other year. The games have netted more than $8 million for research at the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health.
“You’re not going to see these guys too many more times,” Calhoun said. “Ray’s going to play. … Some of the great players in the history of the school. There won’t be many more chances to see them.”
Allen, 43, the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history, retired four years ago, after 10 All-Star Games and NBA championships won with the Celtics and Heat. He played for Calhoun at UConn from 1993 to ’96.
He was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame last March and will be enshrined Sept. 8 in Springfield, so naturally he will be a featured guest on Friday, with ceremonies to celebrate his induction and the 20th anniversary of the game.
New Huskies coach Dan Hurley and his staff are expected. The guest list includes UConn players and coaches from the Calhoun and Kevin Ollie eras. Ollie, still embroiled in the contract dispute with UConn, has been invited, but as of Thursday was not expected to participate. Rip Hamilton and Hilton Armstrong are expected, Caron Butler is a maybe.
By NBA rule, the event’s organizers cannot announce which active players will be there.
Kemba Walker will be missing this year; he is heading to China with Team USA. The Spurs’ Rudy Gay will be there.
“It’s good to see the guys,” Gay said. “Getting back, getting to hang with the guys you basically went to war with and started your career with. It’s a win-win, when I get back there I always have a good time. … Coach Calhoun has been great to all of us, somewhat of a father figure, so it’s great to be able to come back and support the people who have done good things for you.”
Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb have participated in the past. Shabazz Napier, who recently signed with the Nets and is moving cross-country, is not expected this year.
But other members of the 2014 national champs, like Ryan Boatright and Niels Giffey are expected. Daniel Hamilton, who recently signed with the Hawks, is also expected. Svetlana Abrosimova is the former UConn women’s basketball player who will be in town. Nykesha Sales, Ashley Battle and Kalana Greene played in the event in 2016, when 7,800 attended the game.
“You don’t have too many opportunuties to thank people for helping us so much,” said Calhoun, 76, who is emerging from retirement to coach the new Division III program at St. Joseph next season. “It’ll be a special night for us.”
Delaire Chooses Stanford
Jaiden Delaire, a 6-foot-8 forward from Granby and Loomis-Chaffee School, announced late Wednesday that he would reclassify to the Class of 2018 and play at Stanford.
“I’m proud to announce my commitment to Stanford University,” Delaire said on his Twitter account.
UConn had been recruiting Delaire as a Class of 2019 prospect. … The Huskies had Al-Amir Dawes, a 2019 combo guard from Newark, on campus for an unofficial visit Thursday. … Following the All-Star Game, the UConn alumni will be at a Brantley Gilbert concert Saturday, and golf outings at the Mohegan Sun CC on Sunday and the Golf Club of Avon on Monday.
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