UConn retires No. 34 jersey of Hall of Famer Ray Allen
Li Xiang

The University of Connecticut on Sunday held the jersey-retiring ceremony for Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Ray Allen during the game against South Florida at the Gampel Pavilion XL Center.

"Everything that I've received because of this game of basketball was as a UConn Husky," said Allen at the ceremony. Allen and former women's player Rebecca Lobo are the only two players in UConn history to have their jerseys retired.

Ray Allen (#34) shoots over defenders, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S., 1994. /VCG Photo

Ray Allen (#34) shoots over defenders, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S., 1994. /VCG Photo

"It's a special place. It's the reason that I continue to always come back. I want these young kids to understand that it's a privilege to play here. Truly it is the honor of my life to have come to the state of Connecticut back in 1993 with no direction whatsoever, but knowing what great fans, what a great basketball state this was," said Allen.

UConn had only one criterion for retiring numbers – the player needed to be a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, which Allen accomplished in September 2018.

Ray Allen takes a picture after he is selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 5 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. /VCG Photo

Ray Allen takes a picture after he is selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 5 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. /VCG Photo

In his three seasons at UConn (1993-1996), Allen averaged 19 points per game and led the Huskies to win 89 of their 102 games. He was named a first-team All-American, the Big East player of the year and UPI's national player of the year. Before the 1996 NBA Draft, Allen was considered as one of the three best guards in college basketball, along with Stephon Marbury of Georgia Tech and Allen Iverson of Georgetown University.

"And 30 years later to be able to stand here in front of you and just see some of the old faces and so many new, I just have to thank Coach Calhoun, Coach (Howie) Dickenman, Coach (Dave) Leitao, Coach (Karl) Hobbs and Coach (Tom) Moore for believing in me. Because at 18 years old, I don't know who I am. Most of us don't know who we are. But they saw something in me," said Allen.