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Ray Allen explains why he picked UConn over UK in ’92


Long before he was the NBA’s all-time leader in three-point field goals, Ray Allen was a two-time All-American and Big East Player of the Year at the University of Connecticut. Allen scored almost 2,000 points in three seasons at Connecticut and his record for three-pointers in a single season still stands today.

But did you know he was close to becoming a Kentucky Wildcat?

Allen was down to UConn and Kentucky in his recruitment when he picked the Huskies over life in Lexington. A video of why he came to that decision surfaced on the internet late last week and his explanation of Rick Pitino sounds pretty accurate.

“Pitino, he’s so high on a pedestal,” Allen said, when discussing why he passed on UK in 1992. “He does everything and talks about himself. It’s “I” before his players or the team. He’s always talking about himself and what he has.”

Allen visited Kentucky for Big Blue Madness with Derron Sheffer, who also chose UConn, and they were ignored by Pitino while eating at Pitino’s restaurant during their visit.

“He had a restaurant… Jamal Mashburn was taking me around on my visit and I went in there and Rick Pitino, he sat with his friends on the other side of the bar. Me and Derron joke about it; we said if it were Coach Calhoun, he would be sitting down at the table and getting our food for us because he really wanted us.”

Sounds about right.

Shortly before Allen committed to UConn, the Hartford-Courant wrote, “He told me Coach Pitino wasn’t as involved with his players as much. Pitino hasn’t called him and has only talked to his mother once — during the home visit. [Calhoun] has done a better job.”

For what it’s worth, Allen’s father wanted him to go to Kentucky.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

16 responses to “Ray Allen explains why he picked UConn over UK in ’92”

  1. Dusten

    What a bummer. We were that close on Jesus Shuttlesworth. Man, it would be awesome to have Ray Allen as an alum. Unfortunately for him, Uconn fans probably treat him like Pitino.

  2. J-Dub421

    This just further confirms what I’ve already heard about Pitino, that he’s a jerk with a huge ego and thinks he’s better than everyone else.

  3. Dusten

    I mean, it’s pretty bad when you’re outcharmed by JIM CALHOUN.

  4. david8577

    I think we all know this now. Pitino is a great in game coach, and great and tearing players down and making them use themselves up for his personal glory. But a good person, looking out for the best interest of his players, fun to be around, trustworthy, he’s definitely not any of those.

  5. UKfaninLou

    Sounds about right. No players first for Rick.

  6. BTownUKFan

    “….were Coach Calhoun, he would be sitting down at the table and getting our food for us because he really wanted us.”
    Wouldn’t that be an NCAA violation? It might explain why UCONN got all the good players that they did….just sayin’.

    1. Bobbum Man

      While im not positive, I don’t believe serving food to someone would be a violation and have a even harder time believing he got these great recruits because he brought them food….

    2. Melvit

      That’s the first thing I thought, would that be a violation? That might be why Rick didn’t want to talk to him. We were really under the microscope back then.

    3. ClutchCargo

      I’m sure they’re allowed to feed the guys while they’re on an official visit. Doubt it would be a violation unless they really went overboard.

  7. Ky_Tom

    What is the deal about crying over this BS now, in the powerful words of Hillary Clinton..””What difference does it make now.”””…If this story is to bust on Rick Pitino’s chops, for missing out on two recruits in the early 90’s..Who cares now.. Back then, Pitino was thought of as God here in the BBN.. So what did he do to those who loved him?…..He lied to them, when he said he wasn’t going any where.. Then 10 or 15 days later, He headed to Boston to take over that NBA team as part owner and coach., ..Then he done the unspeakable , He took over at Louisville has head coach..95% of the BBN hated him at the time for that.. I my opinion now, that has dropped off to about 20- 25% who still hate the man, and hold that against him..What I do find very interesting is How Ray Allen picked up on how Pitino’s puts “”I”” before everyone else.. This is one of Pitino’s down falls. He always done this, but not many ever noticed it or said anything about it, until now…I think its funny, that a story from 1992 about UK’s recruiting is making the head lines today…Once again, this is the “”Duke”” die hard fan Matt Jones’. keeping the Louisville ACC coach’s name in the Kentucky news releases and web sites like this one, taking care of his favorite secret league the ACC, …Those ACC folks really stick together………jmho….

    1. Melvit

      “powerful words of Hillary Clinton” LOL, I stopped reading after that.

    2. WestCoastCat

      Haha. Me too. And I lean Left.

    3. DelrayCat

      Maybe you’ll both have a little more respect when she is our president in 19 months.
      Laugh all you want, but she will beat that other (less likeable) Bush who is softer on immigration than she is.

  8. NoelGallagher

    And so began the UCONN Curse that would begin in 2011.

  9. catdaddyd

    Well at least we got Rhodes, lol.

  10. Rixter

    It makes me wonder, WHO ELSE did UK miss out on because Pitino is a self-centered pud?