Celtics' Ray Allen breaks record for for NBA 3-pointers
UConn assistant coach Kevin Ollie had the privilege of playing with the top two NBA shooters of all time.
Ray Allen and Reggie Miller will be forever linked for their 3-point shooting prowess, but it is Allen, Ollie's former college and NBA teammate, who now stands alone.
Allen broke Miller's career record for NBA 3-pointers Thursday night when he swished a 24-footer with one minute, 47 seconds left in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at the TD Garden.
It was his second of the night and 2,561st of his career, breaking Miller's record of 2,560. Miller was in the building serving as a television analyst for TNT.
"(I'm not surprised) because of his dedication and hard work," Ollie said prior to the St. John's game at Madison Square Garden. "I was fortunate to play with Reggie and Ray Allen, so it was just tremendous to see both of them and how they prepared each and every day for the game.
"He's just going to continue to pile it up, too, because I don't see him retiring anytime soon."
Ollie's relationship with Allen dates back to their UConn days, when they spent two seasons together from (1993-95). They reunited in the NBA, playing for Milwaukee before both being traded to Seattle during the 2002-03 season, and remain close friends. Ollie was Miller's Indiana teammate in 2001-02.
When Allen arrived at UConn from Dalzell, S.C., he possessed an unrefined jump shot. He often credits former UConn assistant Karl Hobbs with polishing his technique.
Hobbs worked with Allen on finding open spots on the floor and adding some arc to a flat shot. He had Allen watch tapes of Miller and Hersey Hawkins.
"Ray is such a terrific person and obviously a great player," said Hobbs, now the head coach at George Washington. "As an assistant coach responsible for working with the guards, it was a blessing to work with Ray. At the end of the day, it was his work ethic. … He wanted to be special and put the work in to be special."
A two-time All-American, Allen declared for the NBA draft following his junior year in 1996 and went fifth overall. He's been draining 3-pointers ever since.
Allen remains committed to a tireless game-day routine, showing up four hours or so before tip-off to practice his shot.
UConn coach Jim Calhoun says it would be a mistake just to credit Allen's talent for his sweet shooting stroke.
"He has a sense of pride about how he does and what he does," Calhoun said. "Then he puts in a work ethic like he couldn't even shoot a basketball. He has the hungriness of Kevin Ollie. … You combine that with athleticism.
"It isn't just because he's a great athlete. He's a great athlete who points himself toward becoming great. Still to this day, amazing to me, physically, he may be better than he was 10 years ago. … He's just a better basketball player. That's who Ray Allen is."
The result is Allen repeats the same shot every time. He's always in great shooting position and has a smooth, quick release.
"It's effortless," Ollie said. "And it's impeccable once he lets it go. It's perfect every time. He shoots it the same way and in the same rhythm. Every great shooter does that."
So who's the better shooter, Allen or Miller?
"Ray is the better shooter, because he broke the record," Ollie said with a laugh. "They're just phenomenal. … They're both fabulous people and wonderful teammates. That allows them to be great players."
According to Calhoun, UConn is planning to honor Allen's record-setting achievement sometime in the future.
"Ray is a special basketball player and a special person and a great representative of our basketball program," Calhoun said. "He's the epitome of what you want in a student-athlete and a basketball player."