Florida Gators basketball guard KeVaughn Allen came into this season with high expectations on his shoulders after an outstanding freshman campaign in which he averaged 11.6 points per game. Still, his coaches and teammates knew the real Allen had not been seen yet. He possessed so much more talent than even he knew he had.
Spurts of his potential were seen in his freshman season and in a few games in the beginning of this season, but over the last several weeks, a new player has emerged. It is the same Allen, he has just revealed a more consistent and confident version of himself.
Allen is averaging 17.4 points per game over the last seven games while shooting 51 percent from the floor and 53 percent from three-point range in that span. He has scored double-digits in each of Florida’s last four games and in six of the last seven games.
Last week, he scored 14 against Ole Miss and posted a season-high 23 points, eight field goals made, and four steals against Tennessee. Allen was perfect from the field in the second half of the Tennessee game, making all five of his field goal attempts and all four of his three-point attempts. He has drained 18 three-pointers in the last four games for the Gators.
Those numbers earned Allen the first SEC Player of the Week honor of the 2016-17 season this week. It is Allen’s first time receiving this honor, but if his recent play continues, more of these honors are sure to come in his future.
“It’s an honor to get the SEC Player of the Week,” said Allen. “My coach texted me around 11. He told me congratulations on the award and then, at first, I didn’t know what he was talking about when he said congratulations. And then, over the time period, my family and friends started texting me talking about congratulations for the SEC Player of the Week.”
Allen did not have much else to say about the honor. He doesn’t normally say much about anything. That’s just who he is. He’s not going to worry with his personal stats and he’s not going to brag on himself. He lets his play on the court do the talking for him, and it says everything that needs to be said.
While Allen has looked extremely confident in recent weeks, it has not always been that way in his time at Florida. There have been games that he passed up shots he would make nine out of ten times because he wasn’t confident enough in himself. That is something Mike White has worked on with Allen since he arrived, and it is finally starting to click.
“He’s definitely grown a lot in those regards,” White said. “He’s gotten more comfortable with being assertive and being aggressive and becoming a go-to guy. He’s such an unselfish kid, we did have to prod him for a while. Who knows if he’ll have times where he’ll revert into that. Being who he is, winning is most important. He doesn’t understand sometimes how good a scorer he is, but I think he understands it more than a year ago, and I think his teammates have done a really good job with him, too, urging him to be aggressive and the be the guy that looks for his shot as much as anyone on our team, looking for him also and getting him the basketball. He’s really playing well as of late and we certainly hope that continues. He’s a great young man and he’s a pleasure to coach every day.”
Allen’s teammates have made a huge difference in helping him get comfortable with taking more shots this season. “It means a lot,” he said. “Nights when I’m not on, you know, I’m just missing. And they just come up to me and try to encourage me to shoot, you know, ‘just continue to shoot and eventually that it’ll fall’. That means a lot to me.”
Watching Allen grow as a player over the last two seasons has been fun to watch, and it’s been even more fun the last seven games. While it might have taken some time to find the confidence in himself that he needed, Allen is finally becoming the scorer the Gators have been waiting for.