Lavoy Allen goes down as one of the all-time greats

The senior forward’s career is one for Temple’s record books.

TUCSON, Ariz. – The general opinion regarding senior forward Lavoy Allen of the men’s basketball team has always been that when it’s all said and done, he’ll go down as one of the greatest Owls of all time.

Well, after last Saturday’s double-overtime loss to San Diego State, it’s officially all said and done.

It’s time to reflect on Allen’s career and determine whether he belongs in the program’s upper echelon of all-time greats.

Before Allen came to North Broad Street, the Owls struggled underneath coach Fran Dunphy. In Dunphy’s lone season before Allen, the Owls went 12-18 and finished 10th in the Atlantic Ten Conference with a 6-10 record. Once Allen, Temple’s all-time leading rebounder, arrived at Temple, the Owls made four-straight NCAA tournaments and won three A-10 titles. Allen started all four years under Dunphy and helped the team compile a 98-39 record during that span.

“He has pretty much dragged all of us with him in four-straight years of going to NCAA Tournaments and having just a remarkable run for us,” Dunphy said. “He’s been a special player, and we’ll talk about that for a long time to come.”

Allen’s finest season came during his junior year, when he averaged 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds to become the first Temple player to average a double-double since Ollie Johnson in the 1970-1971 season. Allen’s success correlated with the Owls posting a 29-6 record and finishing the season ranked No. 12.

Allen was well-respected outside of Temple’s campus as he was named to the A-10’s First-Team squad twice, the All-Defensive team three times and to the preseason Wooden Award Watch List, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate player.

One of the few hits against Allen’s legacy was the notion that he sometimes didn’t play aggressively enough. That’s probably true. Allen seemed to possess the talent to take over a game offensively, but that simply wasn’t the type of person or player he was.

Instead, Allen made most of his impact on the defensive end even though it sometimes didn’t show up in the box score. Allen’s ability to almost always be in the right defensive position forced opponents to think twice about driving the range and oftentimes led to forced mid-ranged jumpers that were harder to make than layups.

That’s not to say his conventional statistics were anything to laugh at. They weren’t. For his career, Allen scored 1,421 points, grabbed 1,147 rebounds and swatted 213 shots in 135 career games.

Allen only missed one game because of an injury over the last four years. Because of his consistency, Temple’s players have gotten used to relying on Allen to flirt with a double-double every time the team takes the floor.

Well, Allen won’t be there next year. That’s the harsh reality of the situation.

Sophomore forward Rahlir Jefferson, who started 10 games this season while replacing junior center Micheal Eric, will likely take Allen’s starting forward position. At 6-foot, 6-inches, Jefferson is significantly smaller than the 6-foot-9-inch Allen, but he’s been giving up a few inches to opponents since his freshman year, and that hasn’t stopped him from contributing. Freshman forwards Jimmy McDonnell and Anthony Lee will also see playing time after redshirting this season.

“It’s been a great four years,” Allen said. “I’ve made a lot of friends. Hopefully, our friendships last longer than my basketball career. [I’ll] miss putting on this Temple jersey.”

Something tells me Temple is going to miss Allen putting on that jersey, as well.

Kyle Gauss can be reached at kyle.gauss@temple.edu.

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