story & photos
by Christopher Annino
The 10th Annual Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Basketball Game was held in the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday, August 9. Former and current UConn players such as Travis Knight, Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Kevin Ollie, Donyell Marshall, Khalid El-Amin, Doron Sheffer, Ricky Moore, Charlie Villanueva, and Rudy Gay took part in the game. Basketball Hall of Famer, Jim Calhoun began this fundraiser to benefit the UConn Foundation, Inc.’s Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Research Endowment Fund for the UConn Health Center.
Both teams were made up of former alumi: the white team, with older players, and the blue team, with more current players.
From the second the tip off began, the game was full of fun and amazing plays that the audience of over 8,000 people enjoyed. The game was played with much heart, enjoyment and fun. During one play, NBA champion Ray Allen blocked a shot, got the steal, and did a backwards pass to his teammate who later responded with a slam-dunk.
The blue team won 119-117. “This is a great cause, and I enjoy coming every year to visit with fans, coaches, friends, and fellow players,” said UConn legend Travis Knight.
UConn legend and current star for the Milwaukee Bucks Charlie Villanueva added, “We are all bound together here as players because of what Coach taught us, I have been in the league for three years and I miss UConn. Coach taught me everything I needed to know as a man and a player.”
The game was dedicated to Robert “Spider” Ursery, who recently passed away from a six-year battle with Hodgkin’s Disease. Rudy Gay was the games MVP with 38 points, and after the game the fans were able to meet and greet their heroes for a two-hour autograph session. Mohegan Sun, Gold Orluk and Partners, Nike and other organizations helped sponsor the event.