AVON — Not many are invited to play golf with President Barack Obama. It's even less likely to get a rain check, like Ray Allen did.
"I had an opportunity over the winter to play with him because he came down to Miami," Allen said on Monday morning as he participated in Jim Calhoun's charity golf event at the Golf Club of Avon.
"But I had a game that day and could have missed shoot-around but I decided not to. I saw him later on and he said 'That goes to show what kind of team guy you are.'
"My whole team was like, 'You should've gone,' but any time you do that there is so much attention. On a game day, I didn't want people to focus on that."
As he was walking through the Mohegan Sun Casino to play in the Jim Calhoun Charity All-Star Game Friday, he got an email. President Obama requested his presence on the links again, this time at Martha's Vineyard.
"The opportunity came again," Allen said. "I got the email. I played the game, the next morning I shot down to the Vineyard and we had a great day."
"That's G-14 classified," Allen said. The conversation was light and Obama did not make a pitch for Allen to play for his favorite NBA team, the Bulls.
"One thing we didn't do was talk shop," Allen said. "Even though I've had so much stuff I'm dealing with over the last few weeks, months, his stuff is a lot more important.
"I'm sure he wanted to stay away from talking business or shop. That was an opportunity for him to get a breather so he could go back full steam."
So Allen was back in Connecticut again on Monday to play golf with his UConn basketball fraternity in the event that completes Calhoun's charity weekend.
Allen, 39, remained publicly consistent, reiterating that he has not made up his mind about retiring or playing a 19th season. On Saturday, ESPN reported that he has told friends he will play next season, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, having signed LeBron James and put a deal in place to acquire Kevin Love, are the frontrunners to sign him. Allen, the top three-point shooter in NBA history, averaged 9.6 point per game off the bench for the Heat last season, shooting 37 percent on three-point shots.
"I'm just enjoying the summer," Allen said. "Like I said [Friday], I know if I decided to come back, I'd just say it, 'I want to play again.' But right now, if it goes all year and I don't make a decision I could just be content with where I am."
Calhoun said Allen has been asking for insight about David Blatt, the new Cavs coach, who had been coaching overseas, mostly in Israel, the last 20 years. Calhoun once recruited Blatt to play at Northeastern.
"I think it's how [Allen] feels; how he feels he fits in," Calhoun said. "I just can't imagine a team not wanting him, when you look at the shape he is in - he's in phenomenal shape - and he brings something to a team.
"He brings a [three-point threat] that you have to respect. I was very happy he said this, 'It's finally going to be about me, how I feel stepping on the court.' I say it's 60-40, if it works out right, he would go play again."
Four years ago, Kevin Ollie had the chance to continue his NBA career, but chose to retire and became an assistant at UConn. He assumed the head coaching position two years later. Ollie and Allen were UConn teammates.
"It's family first," Ollie said. "God, family, your job and then leisure, and Ray has always kept it that simple. I know he's going to talk to his family, first and foremost. He's got to get his body healthy, play some more golf and relax a little bit and everything will come. He's always made wise decisions since I've known him and I don't think this is going to change."
Richard Hamilton, 36, who had a long NBA career after winning a national championship at UConn, did not play last season. Like Allen now, he would only have interest in joining a contending team.
"I think you come to a point where you had such a great career in college and NBA," Hamilton said, "and now we've been away from our families for so long, now it's a situation where we did a lot of special things and now it might be a time to give that time to your little kids, your babies. It's the same with Ray. It's got to be a perfect opportunity, where you've got a chance to win a championship and you're not out there just playing."
That would point to Cleveland, a franchise that, reportedly, took a run at hiring Ollie as coach before hiring Blatt and acquiring James.
"He's going to have to find that right job, that right organization that fits him," Ollie said, "that has his same values. I know he values high-character guys, teamwork and ultimately an organization that's willing to go after anything, willing to go after championships by doing anything that's necessary. That's what he's looking for in an organization."
Calhoun Likes 2014-15 Huskies
There can be a "championship hangover" following a run to the title, but because the current Huskies will have several new starters, and storylines among the players returning, Calhoun doesn't see that as a problem.
"This is a new group of kids. [Rodney] Purvis wants to prove he can play, the [Daniel] Hamilton kid is very talented; Ryan [Boatright] wants it to be his team," Calhoun said. "Amida [Brimah] probably didn't get as much playing time, with different injuries he had. … And they're in a league which, in my humble opinion, they're the most talented. I know SMU is good, but I still think we're the most talented. I think Amida is going to make that much of a difference, especially now that he's healthy."
Ollie says his team has a renewed hunger to win again.
"We're just trying not to let complacency set in," he said, "Here you just think it's going to be done and you're some kind of special team. You were a special team last year, but this is a whole different team and there are different opponents you're playing against and you've got to come out with that hungry mindset again - that you've got something to prove each and every minute you're on the basketball court. If you don't do that, you're going to sit down with me." … As the golf outing got underway, more than $7 million had been raised for the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiac Research Center at UConn Health Center. … Ollie anticipates a second consecutive perfect APR score of 1,000 once all the data from the 2013-14 academic year is collected and processed. That would put the program far above all NCAA requirements for several years to come. … Though he said "it's never too late," Ollie does not expect any additions to the team next year, via the fifth-year transfer route.
UConn made it's non-conference schedule official, announcing the 12 games on Monday. Sites and times are yet to be determined, though it is likely one game will be played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, with the rest at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center.
There are exhibition games at home against Southern Connecticut on Nov. 4 and Assumption on Nov. 9.
The regular season begins with a home game against Bryant on Nov. 14. Then it's on to San Juan for three games at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off against College of Charleston on Nov. 20 at 12:30 p.m., and either Dayton or Texas A&M. The championship game will be on Nov. 13, with BC, New Mexico, West Virginia or George Mason.
The Huskies then play at home against Texas on Sunday, Nov. 30 at noon, an ESPN2 game, and the highlight of the home non-conference slate. Then UConn has home games against Yale on Dec. 5 and Coppin State on Dec. 14.
They travel to East Rutherford, N.J. to play Duke on Dec. 18 at 8 p.m., then return to Connecticut to play Columbia on Dec. 22 and Central Connecticut on Dec. 28.
The road game at Florida, which was originally penciled in for Dec. 2, has been moved a day to Saturday, Jan. 3, so it is very likely the Huskies will play their first American Athletic Conference game between Dec. 28 and Jan. 3. With conference play in full swing, UConn will travel to Stanford to play on Dec. 17. The games at Florida and Stanford complete home-and-home contracts which began with games on Connecticut last season.