Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Best Players to Wear Each Number in UConn MBB History: 20-35

Rob Joyce
April 15, 2020 - 8:22 am

We’ve run through a few historic UConn-related items over the past month, and it continues this week with Part Two of our three-week project: naming the best player to wear each jersey number in men’s basketball history.

The Athletic ran a similar project, with UConn writer Charlotte Carroll making an excellent list for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Last week we released our own rankings for Nos. 0 through 15. This week continues with Nos. 20 through 35:

20 – Jack Rose: The South Windsor native played at UConn from 1957-60, making the Yankee Conference Honor Roll each season, including two First Team nods – remember, freshmen weren’t allowed on the varsity team in those days. He finished his career with 1,116 points, becoming the third member of the Huskies’ 1,000-point club.

 

21 – Josh Boone: A three-year starter, Boone helped the Huskies to a national title as a freshman in2004. With Emeka Okafor in first half foul trouble he and Charlie Villanueva helped hold the fort in the national semifinal against Duke, with Boone pulling down 14 rebounds. For his career he averaged 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Boone narrowly gets the nod over Ricky Moore, another player known more for his defense, but he had a very well-rounded career, with 952 points, 510 rebounds, 402 assists and 170 steals. His defense on Trajan Langdon in the final seconds of the 1999 national title game will be remembered forever. Boone, though, gets the edge by virtue of his 2005 Big East Defensive Player of the Year honor.

22 - Vin Yokabaskas: The Bloomfield High star still holds most of the Warhawks’ records before he went to UConn and re-wrote the record book there. The first member of the 1,000-point club, in his three varsity seasons he averaged 16.2 points per game, finishing with 1,275 for his career. He was a First-Team Yankee Conference performer each year, from 1950-52 and helped the Huskies to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1951.

Yogie was a fairly no-brainer selection, but another three-time Yankee Conference first-teamer wore No. 22 in Bill Corley. His 51 points in January 1968 against New Hampshire is still the UConn single-game record, and he finished his career with 1,219 points and 986 rebounds (the latter is seventh all-time). Rudy Gay, of course, was also No. 22 in his two seasons with the Huskies, where he was a consensus All-American in 2006.

23 – Albert Mouring: After a lost freshman season in 1997-98, Mouring came off the bench as a sophomore for the ’99 national title team to the tune of 7.1 points per game. He really came on his final two years in Storrs, averaging 13.9 and 15.1 points, respectively behind his shooting prowess. He’s still the all-time leader in free throw percentage (84.2 percent) and fourth in three-point percentage (.41.2). He and Souleymane Wane combined for 111 wins as a class, the second-most ever.

 

24 – Scott Burrell: As talented an athlete as anyone that’s played at UConn save for perhaps Walt Dropo, Burrell scored 1,562 points in his four-year career from 1989-93. A three-time All-Big East performer, he was the first player in NCAA history to have over 1,500 points, 750 rebounds, 275 assists and 300 steals, the latter of which he’s UConn’s all-time record holder. And, of course, he threw the pass to Tate George against Clemson in the 1990 Sweet 16.

The Hamden native was initially going to Miami (FL) to play baseball, as he was drafted out of high school by the Mariners, then again in the first round by the Blue Jays in 1990. A first-round pick in the NBA Draft by the Hornets, he became the first player ever to be a first-rounder in two sports.

25 – Art Quimby: It was a different era for rebounding, but Quimby’s numbers are still eye-popping. For his career he averaged – averaged! – 21.5 boards per game, leading the nation in rebounding in two of his three collegiate seasons (1952-55). His 40-rebound performance against BU in 1955 will remain the school record forever, as will his 611 rebounds in 1954-55 and his 1,716 career boards.

The New London native could also score a bit – his 1,398 points is still 24th all-time. He, too, was a three-time Yankee Conference first-teamer.

30 – Norman Bailey: Another Connecticut native, Bailey graduated from Northwest Catholic and came to UConn in 1980, where he was a starter by season’s end. After averaging 9.9 points as a sophomore, he was off to a good start in his junior season, averaging 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds a game before being declared academically ineligible. He had a successful overseas career before returning to Connecticut.

 

31 – Rashad Anderson: The ultimate sharpshooter, he attempted 1,178 shots in his career and over 60 percent of those (715) were from three-point range. The school’s all-time leader in three-point attempts and makes (276), Anderson finished his career with 1,432 points and was low-key a star in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Averaging 11.2 points in the regular season, he netted 17.3 per game on the national title run, including a 28-point performance in the Elite 8 against Alabama.

Two years later, he'd hit his most famous threes at UConn in the Sweet 16 against Washington, burying two contested triples - first with 34 seconds and then with :01.8 left - to force overtime, where Connecticut would advance.

 

32 – Richard Hamilton: Another no-brainer, Hamilton is the only two-time All-American in UConn history, a consensus selection in both 1998 and 1999. He scored 2,036 points in his career – still second all-time – and he only played three seasons (his 19.8 PPG average is third all-time). He hit the game-winner in the 1998 Sweet 16 against Washington, then led the Huskies to their first national title a year later, taking home Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

He was a lottery pick for the Wizards in 1999, went to three NBA All-Star games, won a title with the 2004 Pistons and his No. 32 is retired in Detroit.

 

33 – Donny Marshall: The careers of Donny Marshall and Denham Brown are stunningly similar. Brown has a slight edge in points (1,267 to Marshall’s 1,197), but Marshall has the rebounding advantage (534 to 530) in 14 fewer games. Brown reached the 1,000-point mark in his 109th game... Marshall his 110th. Marshall’s peak was better, averaging 15.8 points per game as a senior in 1994-95, but Brown averaged between 7.7 and 10.7 points his entire collegiate career.

Brown has a ring, but wasn’t a huge contributor in the 2004 title run – though two years later he did force overtime in the 2006 Elite 8 loss to George Mason. He also notched the game-winner in the Maui Invitational against Adam Morrison and Gonzaga earlier that season. Marshall, though, was a two-time All-Big East performer, so he gets the nod here by the narrowest of margins.

Kevin Freeman also wore No. 33 as a senior in 1999-00, but did most of his work wearing No. 15.

 

34 – Ray Allen: When he arrived at UConn in 1993 the Huskies were a good program, but Allen helped turn them into a growing national power. They were a two-seed in his freshman and sophomore seasons, before getting a one-seed in 1996. The 1996 Big East Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, Allen sits fifth all-time in scoring (1,922 points), fourth in points per game, sixth in made threes and is in the discussion for best player in program history.

His highlight moment, of course, came in the ’96 Big East final against Allen Iverson and Georgetown, with his wild double-clutch runner in the waning seconds to win it. His No. 34 is the first to be retired on the men’s side after he embarked on a Hall of Fame NBA career, winning titles with the Celtics and Heat.

Of note, Hasheem Thabeet – the 2009 Big East Player of the Year, an All-American and a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year – was also No. 34, and he’s still second in all-time blocks (417).

 

35 – John Thomas: One of the most prolific rebounders in UConn history, Thomas finished his career with 1,023 boards, which is still fifth all-time, and his 11.2 RPG average is fourth. Not surprisingly he led the team in rebounding all three seasons he played, and was fourth in the nation as a senior. Not a big scorer (career average: 8.0) he did average a double-double in his final year in 1975-76, ending with All-Yankee Conference second-team honors.

Honorable mention goes to Amidah Brimah, whose contributions to the 2014 national title run shouldn’t be forgotten. In particular, his three-point play late in regulation against St. Joe’s is a big reason why the Huskies didn’t fizzle out in the first round.

 

Next week we’ll wrap up the series with numbers 40 through 55. Stay tuned!