Lavoy Allen will enter his junior season with little fan fare at Temple. Gone is star Dionte Christmas, and his scoring outbursts. A void will be left, and Allen will do his best to fill it, chances are, he will. Lavoy had high major offers out of High School but chose hometown Temple. On first glance Allen appears almost out of place in the A10, he has a Big East frame and game. He stands in at 6’9 225 and shows good footwork, great touch and hands and a very high basketball IQ.
Allen as a sophomore, according to kenpom.com, ranked 30th in the country in offensive rating. Truly an elite number, better yet he came in 18th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. In Allen’s last ten games, he hit double digits on the glass in nine. For the year, he averaged 11 points and 9 rebounds a game. To boot, he shot 58% from the field, showed three point range and averaged two assists a game.
Allen came to Temple in hopes of restoring a proud program. In turn, they have made the NCAA tournament in both of his first two years, both resulting in first round exits. “The next step is to get further in the tournament and make some noise. We’ve done a good job of rebuilding since (John) Chaney left, but we have to take Temple back to the old days.” Lavoy described some goals for next season, “To make the tournament again and win a couple games. We have a really great out of conference schedule, so it’s an exciting year. Individually to do the best I can, maybe lead the league in rebounds. Whatever I can do to win, but a main focus is rebounding.”
Rebounding is an obvious strength of Lavoy’s game, posting double digit rebounds in 9 of his final 10 games last season. “It’s pretty much all about position. I see when my teammates have a shot and then go get it. Either by boxing out or sneaking behind.”
Lavoy describes himself as a quiet person by nature, but this year must embrace a leadership role, “At the end of the season, coach called my into his office and let me know there will be more opportunities this year and I’m now one of the more experienced guys. I’ve been known as a quiet kid, so I might have to force it sometimes. In tough situations when my team is down, I’m going to have to pick them up.” Being a quiet kid and a 2nd option the past two seasons, can be seen in the amount of touches Allen has had. This year he must be more assertive and he feels he can adapt, “It was mental. I would give open shots or miss a couple and be afraid to shoot again. This year everyone is looking for me to score more.” Scoring the ball for Lavoy, will be done inside and outside. Lavoy stepped out to the perimeter more frequently last season and will continue to do so, “The main thing I’m working on is extending my range. Getting more arc on my shot to get better inside and out.”
To expand his game to the next level, it’s a change Lavoy feels will be needed, though he will always be a post player. “Being my size, I do need to work on more of an outside game. I don’t have an average build of a 4 in the NBA. So I need to work on my ballhandling, too. I started playing in High School my sophomore year so I didn’t follow much NBA, but lately I try to model myself after Lamar Odom a little.”
To get to that point, Lavoy is currently in Boston working out several hours a day and will remain in Boston for the next four weeks. “I’ve been working really hard in the weight room and on my shot. We have individual workouts, pickup and weight room time.” Lavoy arrived in Boston after taking summer courses back at Temple.
For the Owls this season, an improvement must be made on both sides of the ball. “Offensively we didn’t move the ball as much as we should. Plays broke down a lot. Defensively we took some possessions off and we need to do a better job of helping out and rotating.” Filling the loss of Christmas will not be an individual task either. “It would be impossible to fill that scoring with one person. We all have to give a little bit more. And the loss of Sergio (Almos), those are big shoes to fill.” Lavoy pointed out a few players capable, “Ryan Brooks is going to be a senior and I know he’s been working hard this summer. Micheal Eric has a chance to step in, with Almos leaving there are a lot of minutes left there. And Ramone Moore played a few games for us last year before he was ineligible but he’s known as a scorer.”
The A10 appears to be in for a solid year. Lavoy sees Xaiver and Dayton coming in as the favorites, but in a wide open league with a lot of returning players. “Xavier is always there, Dayton has lot of guys back that played well in the tournament. Richmond has all there guys back, Umass, it should be another tough year.” With Lavoy Allen on Temple’s side, there is no question it will be a tough year for the opposition.