Now that Florida has a new head basketball coach in former Louisiana Tech bench boss Michael White, the process of deciding the future of North Little Rock guard Kevaughn Allen can move on down the line.
Allen (6-3, 180) signed with the Gators, but Arkansas became an option once again when he decided to ask for a release when Florida head coach Billy Donovan took the head coaching job of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder last week.
Florida asked Allen to wait until a new head coach was named before it granted the release and he is scheduled to meet with White in the near future per North Little Rock head coach Johnny Rice.
“I have talked with KeVaughn and he said since Coach Donovan left that he wanted to look at other things,” Rice said Friday on Sports Talk With Bo Mattingly. “I have talked to (his) mom and she asked me to help find out who to contact and ask for the release. I have done that.
“Talking to her last night, I know that she called (Florida) yesterday afternoon…and they asked her to call back today. I got word today at 7:30 (a.m.) that the athletic director (Jeremy Foley) wanted to wait until every recruit could meet with the new coach before they grant anything.
“That is kind of where we are at right now. That’s the impression that I get and I think that is pretty standard and every school is going to be that way.”
Allen, who averaged 25.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.1 steals, got his list down to Florida, Arkansas and Memphis before committing to the Gators in April of 2014.
“I think his interest (in Arkansas) is very high,” Rice said. “He never had a dislike for Arkansas…I really believe that the big draw for Florida was Coach Donovan and the success of the program and all they had done in the last few years. You couldn’t fault him for that.”
Allen and Rice attended an Arkansas practice and game in Little Rock in December.
“Arkansas fans would come up to him and talk to him and tell him he needed to be on ‘The Hill,”’ Rice said. “They were all very courteous.”
Rice thinks that Allen would fit great at Arkansas in head coach Mike Anderson’s system if that is where he lands.
“Coach Anderson’s system is 94 feet, getting up and down the floor and KeVaughn is the best that I have seen around here in transition, scoring in transition," Rice said. "He can score at all three levels - finishing at the rim, mid-range shot and he can shoot the three.
“I think he would fit in great just because of the style of play that they do. I can see him flourishing at Arkansas.”
The fact that Arkansas just had Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls declare for the 2015 NBA Draft is certainly a plus in the Razorbacks’ favor per Rice.
“With Bobby and Michael Qualls doing that, you can say that it can happen at Arkansas, too,” Rice said. “It just doesn't have to be Kentucky and those other schools.”
If Allen does indeed get his release from Florida, Arkansas and Memphis are likely to be at the top of his list.
“If I were a betting man, I could see how those two would be the front-runners and I say Memphis because he played on Team Penny in the summer and he has played with all those kids the last couple of summers,” Rice said.
“He has a relationship with him and (Memphis) Coach (Josh) Pastner was down there a lot in the recruiting process, was high on KeVaughn and wanted him pretty bad.”
Other schools have made their interest known in indirect ways.
“I haven’t heard straight from coaches,” Rice said, “but I might hear from other people associated with the program in one way or another that when that release is official they are going to be right there trying to form a relationship or get a foot in the door and get their name out there.”