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National Champion UConn men’s basketball team to make fifth White House visit Friday

The last time the UConn men’s basketball team visited the White House, the Huskies had company.

On June 9, 2014, in the East Room, President Barack Obama stood in the middle of the stage with a UConn national championship trophy to his left and another to his right. Behind him, the stage was packed with Huskies, men and women.

“I have to say that, as President, one of my goals has been to eliminate waste and cut out duplicative programs to make things a little more efficient, but this might be carrying things a little too far,” the former President said, earning a collective chuckle from the room.

That year, the UConn women went a perfect 40-0 and claimed their second consecutive title in what ended up being a stretch of four straight. The men, under “new blood” Kevin Ollie, as President Obama called him, finished the season 32-8 and advanced through the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed.

“Now, I also have to confess, I did not pick the men to win in my bracket. Of course, neither did anybody else unless you went to UConn,” the former President quipped.

The Huskies will be back in that familiar spot at 5 p.m. on Friday, the men by themselves this time with Dan Hurley, now the “new blood,” and President Joe Biden doing the talking.

The current President took to Twitter to congratulate the Huskies the morning after they took down fifth-seeded San Diego State, 76-59, in Houston to claim the title.

“[UConn men’s basketball] returned to glory with a series of dominant performances that were often incredible to watch,” he tweeted from his official POTUS account.

The President later called Hurley to congratulate him on his first championship, but the original phone call went unanswered on Hurley’s end. UConn’s fifth-year head coach told The Athletic he was on the phone with a Class of 2024 recruit and never saw he was receiving another call, but that President Biden did leave a voicemail.

The game of phone tag eventually concluded and the date was set for the men’s program’s fifth visit to the White House since 1999. Jim Calhoun brought his teams in 1999, 2004 and 2011, and heard remarks from President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush (who also had a double-dose of Huskies) and President Obama.

The LSU women’s basketball team and star Angel Reese, cousin of projected first-round pick Jordan Hawkins, will also be honored by President Biden on Friday.

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