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.