Headlines

As reported by The Hartford Courant, August 8, 2010.

Calhoun Shows Charitable Side

By Mike Anthony

UNCASVILLE Jim Calhoun struck familiar sideline poses Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, with significant tweaks in mood and style.

He sauntered, didn't stalk, down the sideline. He smiled, didn't scowl. Instead of scolding assistant coaches and clashing with referees, he laughed with players whose sneakerprints are all over his 24 years at UConn.

"There's a tradition here, a family here," Calhoun said before the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game. "The guys who enjoy it the most are the players themselves."

Behind 20 points from MVP Ray Allen, the white team defeated the blue team 126-118 before about 5,000 fans in another freewheeling adventure of bloopers and dunks. Charlie Villanueva had 26 points for the blue team. Players from every Calhoun era were represented. For instance, Rod Sellers played on his 40th birthday and Stanley Robinson played just months after wrapping up his career in Storrs.

The game, held every other year since 2002, benefits the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health Center and prevents the record books from being the only place the program's greats can share space. "Thanks 4 the memories," one sign read, which is what Calhoun seemed to saying with each hug and handshake.

"This just shows where the program is, what it has become," Donyell Marshall said.

Calhoun watched most of the game with a grin, perhaps appreciating that this could have been the last such gathering. He signed a five-year contract this summer, but there's no guarantee he'll coach to the end of that contract.

Asked if the game would continue after his retirement, Calhoun, 68, said, "I know one thing, that I'll continue to work for UConn Health Center. The same things I've worked with, I'll continue to work with."

Shaqing Up

Allen signed a two-year contract to stay with the Celtics, giving it another championship run with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Shaquille O'Neal.

"It's interesting to me because I think he can help us," Allen said. "One of our bad traits was rebounding, and he's a guy who takes up a lot of space."

Allen said there is potential in his star-studded but aging team.

"Everybody took a look and said, 'We still have something good here. We don't want to give it away,'" Allen said.

Rash Splash

Rashad Anderson called Calhoun directly to confirm that he would attend and used the opportunity to toy with the no-nonsense coach. Calhoun answered the phone and Anderson said, "Coach, I want to go to school here!"

"Who is this?" Calhoun said. Anderson responded, "It's the only player who could ever get arrested for pulling a prank."

Anderson was charged with a misdemeanor while at UConn for jumping out of bushes in a mask to scare passersby. Anderson played in Italy last year and has several overseas options, but he's hoping to land in an NBA training camp.

"Whether it's here or in Europe, I'm still going to make a lot of money, so it doesn't matter," he said. Robinson, drafted No. 59 by the Magic, was expecting to hear his name called a lot sooner. "I was disappointed, but I'm glad I got picked," he said. Robinson will have to earn a contract with a strong performance in training camp. He had one strong summer league performance of 13 points and 10 rebounds. "Got in my windmill [dunk]," he said. "So I was happy." Every member of the current UConn team (besides German freshman Niels Giffey and Enosch Wolf, who have yet to arrive) attended the game. The Huskies arrived early and mingled on the court during warmups. Roscoe Smith was getting tips on his game from Caron Butler and Rudy Gay. Smith said he would like to fill Gay's shoes, becoming the next great wing at UConn. "But my shoes are big," said Gay, who recently re-signed with the Memphis Grizzlies for $82 million.

Shock Remembered

It has been a decade since Khalid El-Amin ran around the court after UConn beat Duke for the 1999 national title and screamed, "We shocked the world."

"It was just the feeling of the moment and what came to my head," he said. "Luckily for us, it was the right phrase at the right time."

El-Amin has been traveling the world, playing in Turkey, Israel, France and Ukraine. He was in the Ukraine last season with his wife and seven children and is considering a return.

"The game is still fun. I'm making good money, and I'm taking care of my family," said El-Amin, reigning MVP of the Ukraine Super League. "So I can't afford not to like it."

Branching Out

The Calhoun coaching tree has a few new branches in Kevin Ollie, who retired from the NBA to join the UConn bench, Ricky Moore (assistant at Dartmouth) and Donyell Marshall (assistant at George Washington).

At GW, Marshall will serve under Karl Hobbs, who was an assistant at UConn during Marshall's time with the Huskies.

Marshall said he didn't interview for the positions on the UConn staff recently filled by Ollie and Glen Miller.

Sellers Torn

Rod Sellers returned for this game with conflicting feelings. He is bitter over the forced resignation of his brother Patrick, whom he said is coaching in China. "It's very strange being here," Rod Sellers said. Richard Hamilton missed the game for the third straight time. "We can't get in touch with Rip but nobody can," Calhoun said. Other absentees: A.J. Price (injured), Hasheem Thabeet (in Africa), Hilton Amstrong, Josh Boone, Marcus Williams, Chris Smith, Tate George, Clifford Robinson. Calhoun said he has had talks about trying to set up a charity game with UConn alumni playing against Duke alumni. "It would be a bad idea," Calhoun said. "We'd end up having someone hit somebody or losing their temper and we don't need that in this type of game." Calhoun said John Gwynn will be a Big East referee this season after officiating in the Atlantic 10 and Ivy League. He won't work UConn games.

Downplaying APR

Calhoun on the release of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate database for coaches: "No kid is looking up the APR of a coach. He wants to go to the best program possible and truly believes in what you're trying to do."