Kevaughn Allen’s 2014 proved to be a before and after. He brought one widely accepted reputation into the July evaluation period and exited with another. But before we discuss his play this year, let’s revisit his underclassman days in Arkansas.
During the 2013 spring, many local observers sought to give Allen a publicity push based on a strong sophomore season and at times outstanding play on the travel circuit. The sophomore reportedly held early offers from programs such as Arkansas, Baylor, Florida, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State and Connecticut.
Allen didn’t merely commit himself to underclass competition that year, either. He played a few games with Team Penny on the 17-under EYBL circuit as well, after previously splitting his time between Arkansas-based squads. He didn’t post big numbers with Team Penny but gained valuable experience heading into his junior season.
Later that July, Allen competed with the Arkansas Wings — teaming with elite 2015 big man Skal Labissiere and sensational 2016 guard Malik Monk, among others — and helped lead the Wings to the AAU 16-under championship. I wrote at the top that Allen’s prep career had been something of a before and after, but winning and rising to the occasion have been constants.
He enjoyed another banner season in 2013-14 and entered the spring riding high. He committed to Florida this past April over the Razorbacks, Memphis, Tennessee and many others, and his play would rise to a new level a couple months thereafter.
Allen opted not to sign with the Gators in the fall period, however, prompting some to question the firmness of his commitment. But for now, he still appears on track to join Billy Donovan’s program.
Allen is a lean, strong guard who loves to attack. His style defines his game as much as his athleticism or skills. He brings zero nonsense to the court and competes on both ends, lifting the play of his teammates in addition to riding his own high.
Offensively, he loves to get out in transition. Florida has played at a very slow tempo in recent years, and Allen would give the Gators the option to speed up, at least situationally. He’s an excellent transition scorer with speed, straight-line determination and an indefatigable motor.
|Allen’s nose for competition makes him a bulldog of a defender|
He’s an adequate playmaker, if not a pure point guard in the classic sense, and defensively he’s able to disrupt opposing ballhandlers and frequently cause turnovers.
And now for the before and after. The scouting report on Allen heading into July was that he was a non-shooter. He actually had shot okay in 2013 in limited attempts, but his regular season three-point average with Team Penny in 2014 was an abysmal 26 percent. And on more than four attempts per game, so clearly he was looking for his long-range shot despite hitting it far too infrequently.
Defenders therefore didn’t expect much from him in that regard at the Peach Jam, at least initially. But in North Augusta, over the course of eight games as Team Penny advanced to the final, Allen shot a remarkable 49 percent on threes, 21-43 over eight games. He was both prolific and efficient, and his stroke looked more confident than it had at prior EYBL events.
Interestingly, his free throws went in the opposite direction. He shot a sterling 90 percent (28-31) in regular EYBL play and just 67 percent at the Peach Jam. We’re dealing with smaller sample sizes, of course, but nevertheless worth noting.
What I found most compelling about Allen at the Peach Jam was his ability to get so much more than points out of his torrid shooting. He adjusted to his own hot streak and created high percentage chances for teammates with the knowledge that defenses now were paying him closer attention. It’s that engagement with competition that enables him to reach the winner’s circle so consistently.
Allen must cultivate his point guard skills. Thinking long-term, at 6-3 and not freakishly long, he’ll have to be less of a combo and more of a pure point. Or, if not a natural playmaking point, at least more comfortable handling against ball pressure.
He also must become more refined in structure. Clearly, Allen is exceptional in the fullcourt game, but what happens when his speed gets negated somewhat by a slower pace? Considering that Florida tends to like a slower tempo, scaling his game to a possession by possession affair will be critical to his success in Gainesville.
For that reason, then, maintaining a healthy jump shooting percentage will serve him very well against SEC (and national) competition.
Assuming he does ultimately ink with Florida, Allen’s immediate trajectory could depend somewhat on the progress of Gator sophomore Kasey Hill, a former McDonald’s All-American who has been inconsistent thus far in Gainesville and does not currently register on Draft Express’ 2015 mock. The potential absence of shooting guard Michael Frazier, a junior who is listed in the second round, certainly would impact Allen’s rookie campaign as well.
Regardless of how the initial rotation looks, however, Allen’s ability to score and propensity for winning should impress the coaching staff. He won’t need coddling while transitioning to college and bears the lean strength to compete right away. If he can translate his shooting as a freshman, don’t be surprised if our No. 58 senior surpasses expectations out of the gate.
And after a couple years to mature and ideally season his lead guard skills, Allen possesses potential All-SEC ability for an elite program.