The University of Connecticut Division of Athletics has announced that it will retire the numbers of former basketball greats Ray Allen and Rebecca Lobo during the first weekend of March. Allen and Lobo were recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Both are members of their Huskies of Honor inaugural classes, which recognizes the accomplishments of standout student-athletes and coaches by retiring jerseys. However, the retirement of numbers 34 and 50 will elevate Allen and Lobo to special place of prominence that will be reserved for future UConn basketball alums who are inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Rebecca and Ray are two UConn Basketball icons who were integral to the success and growth of both programs and I am thrilled that we will be able to recognize them in this special way,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “Rebecca and Ray continue to be tremendous ambassadors for UConn and we are proud of all their accomplishments and grateful for their continued support of the University community.”
Both numbers 34 and 50 will become unavailable in perpetuity following the ceremony.
Lobo was the team leader of an upstart program that burst onto the national scene in 1995 and captured the imaginations of UConn fans everywhere. She finished her career with 2,133 points, 1,268 rebounds, and 396 blocked shots in 126 games. The Southwick, Massachusetts, native was the unanimous National Player of the Year in 1995 and a two-time First Team All-American in addition to being honored as the Big East Player of the Year twice.
She was part of the inaugural Huskies of Honor class in 2006.
Lobo also put together a standout career in the classroom and was selected as the Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice in addition to earning First Team Academic All-America status in 1994 and 1995. She was the recipient of the 1995 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship and earned recognition as the NCAA Woman of the Year in 1995.
Following her illustrious career at UConn, Lobo was named to the United States national team and won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta prior to beginning her professional career with the New York Liberty when the WNBA formed in 1997. Lobo was named to the WNBA All-Star Team during her rookie season.
“I spent four amazing years wearing the #50 on my UConn jersey and am honored and thrilled that it will have a permanent home in the rafters of Gampel Pavilion, Lobo said. “We all know that before long there will be plenty of other UConn women’s jerseys hanging next to mine. I am forever grateful to Coach Auriemma and CD for the impact they had on my life and would like to pass along congratulations to Ray as well.”
She retired in 2003 as a member of the Connecticut Sun and joined the women’s basketball talent team at ESPN.
In many ways, Allen still remains the face of the UConn men’s basketball program, more than 20 years after he played for the Huskies. A two-time All-American and the USA Basketball Athlete of the Year (1995), he was the Big East Conference Player of the Year in 1995-96 and a two-time First Team All-Conference selection.
His 1,922-career point total still ranks fifth all-time at UConn, while his 19.0 career average is fourth, his 44.8 three-point field goal percentage is first, as are his 67 straight games in double figures. The 818 points he scored as a junior is the third-highest season total in UConn history. He made too many memorable shots to count, including the one that beat Georgetown for the 1996 Big East Tournament championship that has been replayed about a million times.
UConn’s record during Allen’s three years was an amazing 89-13 (.873) and in the Big East, it was an even better 49-5 (.907), and included three Big East regular-season titles, a Big East Tournament championship, two trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a one to the NCAA Elite Eight.
“It’s truly a great honor,” Allen said. I know in the history of the program, nobody has had their number retired and to be the first is really unfathomable to me.
“I haven’t had my number retired anywhere I’ve played and to have UConn think that highly of me … I am just honored and humbled.
“I also want to congratulate Rebecca and I hope this can set a precedent going forward as a way to honor men and women who have had exceptional careers in college and afterward. If this can usher in a new era as to how we proceed as we move forward, I am happy and proud to be captain of that ship.
“I would like to thank everybody at UConn who was involved and the UConn fans for their tremendous support. My family and I are very much looking forward to the first weekend in March.”
Allen had a tremendous 18-year NBA career with four teams – Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston and Miami, including two NBA Championships. He was a 10-time All-Star, scored 24,505 points, among the top 25 all-time, and his 2,973 three-pointers are No. 1 second to nobody. His Hall of Fame credentials are impeccable.