Lobo a Hall of Fame candidate

Buy Photo Tim Cook/The Day Rebecca Lobo, the former UConn All-American and current ESPN commentator, received the Margo Dydek Award from the Connecticut Sun as part of last summer's celebration of inspiring women. Lobo is on the ballot for election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the second time this year.

Springfield, Mass. - Former UConn All-American Rebecca Lobo will be on the list of candidates for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the second straight year.

The list was released Monday, including first-year candidates Gary Payton, a nine-time all-star as the point guard for the Seattle SuperSonics; Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw.

Also still on the ballot are such noteworthy names as Maurice Cheeks, Bill Fitch, Tim Hardaway, Bernard King, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian.

Last year's Hall of Fame class included five-time NBA all-star Reggie Miller, coach Don Nelson, three-time NCAA Player of the Year and four-time NBA all-star Ralph Sampson and two-time All-American Katrina McClain.

Lobo, a 6-foot-4 center and one of the best known names in women's basketball, was the national player of the year as a senior at UConn, when the Huskies went 35-0 and captured their first national championship.

She finished her UConn career with 2,133 points and 1,268 rebounds and was a member of the program's inaugural class of "Huskies of Honor." Lobo was one of the inaugural members of the WNBA, assigned to the New York Liberty, and played in the league from 1997-2003, retiring as a member of the Connecticut Sun.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma, already a member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, spoke on behalf of Lobo when she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2010.

Said Auriemma: "It was an incredible performance by Rebecca during those four years, to transform Connecticut from a regional basketball OK program to a national champion program.

"It's an incredible performance in the sense that as a player, as a person, as a student, as an ambassador for the game of basketball ... I've never been around anyone who handled it with the grace and the integrity that she brought to everything she did.

"It's amazing what has happened to the University of Connecticut since Rebecca Lobo decided to become a student there. ... I've never ever been around anyone who has held herself to a higher standard and contributed to the growth of girls, women, the university, it's been a ride that I can't even describe."

Lobo is currently an announcer for ESPN.

The list of Hall of Fame finalists will be announced on Friday, Feb. 15.

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