The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

UCONN’s men and women win it all

As you take the exit off the highway into my town, you’ll see a billboard that lists all the basketball national championships the University of Connecticut Huskies have achieved over the years.

There is a reason, and much proof, for why Storrs, Conn., can be considered the College Basketball Capital of the World.

Yes, there may be some stiff competition from teams such as UCLA with their illustrious 11 title; our most recent opposition, Kentucky, with eight; and schools such as UNC, Duke, Louisville and Indiana that just seem to breed basketball stars and titles.

But, no other university has such a pairing of successful men’s and women’s programs as my Huskies do. Some schools may be recognized for their football programs or being prestigiously Ivy League, but it is becoming ever more apparent that when you hear the name UConn, you think basketball.

Growing up in Storrs, my friends and I would play basketball in our driveways, pretending to be UConn basketball players. Our high school is literally on UConn’s campus.

Off in the distance, Gampel Pavilion would loom, and we’d know that our hometown heroes were not so far away. Many of our parents were employees at UConn and would often receive free tickets to basketball games.

So, I grew up watching some of the greatest Big East basketball games ever.

I was a witness.

We’d run into former players like Ben Gordon, Jeremy Lamb and Emeka Okafor while walking around campus. We treated them like celebrities, grabbing a quick autograph and bringing it into school the next day to show it off to our classmates.

Although I chose to not attend UConn, I have blue and white in my blood. I have the Huskies forever embedded in my heart.

Being surrounded in N.C. by Duke and UNC fans is overwhelming at times, but I can justify having UConn pride after having witnessed us winning two national championships while attending Guilford.

As my high school classmate Carmine Colangelo wrote in his blog on following the big win this week:

“In 1999, Khalid El-Amin shocked the world. In 2004, Okafor made the Huskies the ‘Top Dogs.’ In 2011, Kemba Walker will team to the national championship. And in 2014, Shabazz Napier has converted the nonbelievers.”

Not to mention the women’s national championship ­— another undefeated women’s team.

“We did it! Men and women are champions of the world yet again!”

And, though I can’t be home to celebrate in Storrs, I will still be bleeding blue down here in the Old North State.

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