KeVaughn came to Florida already with the disposition to work hard for what he wants. Mike White knew early on that his freshman was going to be special simply because he wants it more than most.
“Through the recruiting process with him I promised him he would have access to the gym as much as he wanted,” White said Monday about KeVaughn Allen. “And that he would be living in a dorm next to the gym. He is such a gym rat.”
White gave us a little nugget explaining just how important playing well is to Allen.
“I was on the road recruiting in July,” Florida’s head coach said. “He text me and told me he needed to talk. He said he didn’t have access to the gym that morning and it bothered him a little bit and wondered if I could remedy that. I had the operations director check it out and they found out that he tried to use the key card to access the gym but the key card doesn’t work at 4:30 a.m.
That does seem a bit extreme, but that is the premium that Allen puts on getting better and that is what is happening with him now. Allen has six double digit scoring games this season and four have come in the last four games. His two highest scoring outbursts have come in the last two games as well, 18 and 32 points. The young man just wants to continually fine tune his craft.
“He’s in the gym a bunch, early morning, between classes, late at night, and that is a good sign,” White said. “We wish for all of our guys to be in the gym as much as possible and he has paid his dues.
When White was hired at Florida back in May, KeVaughn and the rest of the Gator signees under Billy Donovan were a big priority. Allen was the first visit from White and the staff and they let Allen know how important he was to their vision of the program.
“I went to KeVaughn’s house before I even came to campus,” White said. “The first order of business was to sit down with each of the guys that had signed with Coach Donovan and his staff. KeVaughn being the closest to Ruston was the first one we had an opportunity to see as a staff.
“We went into those meetings open minded doing our best to sell what we had accomplished in the style of play at Louisiana Tech. We started trying to fast track the relationship as much as possible. We thought it went pretty well and were invited back for another in-home meeting a week after and had another good meeting. We are glad those meetings went well.”
Allen has played through some tough nights shooting the ball and just playing over all. White says it has never been an issue with him about getting down or feeling like he couldn’t play at the level he is playing now.
“He is coming into his own and one of the more talented freshmen in our league,” Florida’s head coach said. “He’s a great kid and is only going to get better.
“(His confidence has never been down), it really hasn’t been all year,” White intimated. “His confidence has remained steady. I think you can see and the fans can see he is really stoic. He is like Chris Chiozza with their energy level, their facial expressions, you see it every day in practice and it is the same thing. It was only a matter of time before he breaks out.”
The young man has actually played beyond what White envisioned so early in his career.
“I am not sure I thought he would be this consistent over this many games,” He said about Allen’s freshman season so far. “He has really been very mature as of late for a freshman. Obviously I really hope it continues, but he also shouldn’t shoulder the burden of being our leading scorer night in and night out. I would like for him to be, it is fine if he is. But, as a freshman he shouldn’t feel that pressure. We have to score by committee.”