When White opened his press conference at Florida’s media day before the start of preseason practices, the first-year coach was clear that he expected KeVaughn Allen to battle for a starting role with the Gators.
Later that afternoon in the first practice, Allen suffered a concussion when he fell headfirst into a teammates knee while trying to box out for a rebound. Allen missed almost a week of practice, but as soon as he got back on the floor, the glowing remarks continued.
The freshman has shown off his scoring ability, able to make shots from the perimeter or make plays at the rim. He could serve as the team’s third point guard behind Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill, but Allen’s playmaking will show up on the floor whenever he gets a chance this season.
“KeVaughn’s doing well,” Florida forward Devin Robinson said. “He’s fast, quick, athletic, strong, and he plays very well defensively, he can move his feet. He’s playing very well. He’s just got to get the concepts of the defense and what we’re running. But other than that, he’s playing well."
When White took the job at Florida, he had a recruiting class of four signees that he needed to make sure were still on board and ready to come to Gainesville. Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone solidified their plans early in the process. Allen and Noah Dickerson were more up in the air. Dickerson ultimately decided he would go elsewhere and signed with Washington after taking visits.
Allen had the opportunity to play at many basketball powers but originally committed to Donovan. The draw of staying instate to play for Arkansas was always there, and that only grew when Donovan took the job as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, White won the battle as Allen decided to stick to his commitment and play in a guard-friendly system White was bringing to Gainesville.
“He’s such an offensive weapon,” White said. “He’s probably as pure of a natural scorer as we have on our team. He can go get baskets, he can create his own shots, he’s really, really athletic. But he’s got a ways to go.”
The Florida players rave about his athleticism above all else. On and off the court, Allen is quiet and kept to himself, but his athleticism does the talking for him. He has taken coaching well since getting to the Florida campus, and that includes his time with the returning players.
Allen’s main competition at the shooting guard position is Brandone Francis-Ramirez, who has been another standout player in practice. Both players will see plenty of action on the floor regardless of who starts, but Francis-Ramirez has been impressed with his freshman teamamte.
"He’s a great kid,” Francis-Ramirez said. “I think he’s going to help us a lot. He’s a great talent. Like anyone, he’s got a lot of stuff he’s got to learn. His athletic ability (stands out). He’s really athletic, he’s a really good defender. I think he’s going to be a really good player."