Kadeem Allen may not have had the flashiest stats while at Arizona, but now that his career is over, he may go down as one of the more underrated players in recent school history.
“Talking about Kadeem, because he's the one senior on our team, he embodies all of the qualities that every coach would love to have in a senior leader,” Sean Miller said.
“He's a great teammate, hard worker, tough. He doesn't really care about what position he plays.
“We've asked him to guard the other team's best perimeter player, he's taken it as a personal challenge. It's not like what he says every day, it's what he does, and our team really respects him a great deal.”
There’s only been a few players that Sean Miller has coached that he has talked about as highly as Allen.
“There's never been anybody, and we've had some great players, great kids at Xavier and Arizona, that means more to me, that embodies the good in college basketball, than Kadeem Allen,” he said. “That's always the hardest part when you know that his time is up.”
Arizona may not have been able to land Allen had it not been for a relationship in the Miller family.
“The reason that we recruited Kadeem Allen, I had an Uncle Joe, my dad's brother, who was the long-time high school football coach at New Hanover High School, lived in Wilmington, North Carolina forever,” Miller said.
“He passed away a few years back, but Kadeem was one of my Uncle Joe's favorite kids and he called me and told me.
“He would get on my dad about, I'm telling you this kid, Kadeem Allen. Ironically we knew the coaches at Hutchinson Junior College as well, so I think between those two relationships it allowed us to get in the door.”
Allen struggled with grades upon arriving at Arizona and tried to ensure his success by redshirting, which is something many players would not be open to doing.
“Knowing where he was from, knowing his family, knowing how far he had come and the great things that people like my uncle and the people in Wilmington, the people at Hutch, they always described him as a great kid and a winner and somebody that was against all odds for a period of time and has really risen,” Miller said.
“I'll tell you what, there isn't anybody that I've ever been around that has come further than Kadeem.
“I always come back to this, but in college basketball, when you walk in and tell a kid, hey, I think it's in your best interest that you redshirt and a year earlier he was the National Junior College Player of the Year, that conversation doesn't always go well. In his case, he said if you think that's the best, that's what I'll do.
“Right now he's two credits from graduating. His defense, his offense, and it's fun to watch somebody in your own program develop like him.”