It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!
Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.
This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.
Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?
There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.
The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and contributors like Walter Camp were not considered.
GENO AURIEMMA REGION
8. Chris Smith
It is Smith, not Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton or Kemba Walker, who owns the prestigious distinction of being known as UConn’s all-time scoring leader. The Bridgeport native put up 2,145 points in his spectacular four-year career, which puts him 109 points ahead of second-place Richard Hamilton. Smith averaged 21 points and four assists in his senior season in 1992, and helped lead UConn to three straight appearances in the Sweet 16.
Smith was selected in the second round (34th overall) of the 1992 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played three seasons with the team, averaging 5.1 points, 2.8 assists, 1.3 rebounds and .5 steals per game.
9. Scott Burrell
The Hamden High School grad was the first player ever to be taken in the first round of the MLB and NBA Drafts. He ended up playing 14 seasons in the NBA, with the Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets. He was the Hornets’ first-round pick (20th overall) in 1993.
Burrell also helped lead UConn to its 1990 Dream Season, which included a Big East title and the school’s first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Battle of former teammates. Which UConn star has your vote?