Actions speak louder than words.
That’s a lesson learned at a young age and only cemented in its truth, as we grow older. There are so many times those things we do mean more than what we say, or don’t say, in the case of Florida Gators basketball freshman KeVaughn Allen.
The guard is a quiet guy, and that’s putting it mildly.
“He’s just always quiet,” explains junior guard Kasey Hill. “He just doesn’t say anything. But he’s starting to get a little bit looser around us. He laughs but he won’t talk.”
This isn’t the first time KeVaughn Allen’s teammates have pointed out his lack of expression. When the season first began they warned us we wouldn’t be hearing much from the Little Rock, Arkansas native.
Even on the court he remains low-key, even keel and unaffected; maybe stoic is a better word.
You won’t see him expressing undue emotion over something that, at least as it seems to Allen, should be a given. And that is why he is quiet guy; all of his play does the talking for him.
It’s an attitude that head coach Mike White sees in his sophomore guard Chris Chiozza as well to an extent, saying, “he’s like Chris Chiozza in that their energy level, their facial expressions, they never really change.”
While the instinctive coaching point is to ask them to speak up, he’s seeing an output that he doesn’t want to mess up.
“I think at times, we want them to get of their comfort zone a little bit as far as leading and being enthusiastic, being a little bit more vocal both of those guys,” says White. “But you don’t see as many lulls with those guys as well so I think having that type of innate personality I think can have its advantages. I don’t think those guys get rattled too often.”
Allen has been steadily consistent for the past five games in fact, averaging double figures against Oklahoma State (11), Jacksonville (15), Florida State (32), Georgia (18) and Tennessee (18) for an average of 19 ppg over that span. He has a season average of 10.2, and while his 3 point percentage is still low thanks to some early season woes, he has shot at or around .500 the last two games.
This is after having only two double figure outputs in the previous nine games. But in mid-December White warned Gator Nation from getting too antsy because it would only be a matter of time, he predicted, before Allen came into his own. Since KeVaughn doesn’t talk himself, this word from White was all we had to go on. Turns out he was right.
“All year, his confidence has remained steady,” says White now.
“We see it every day in practice, it’s the same thing. It wasn’t really a bold prediction on my part. Anyone on our staff, anyone that matters could have told you it was only a matter of time before he breaks. I’m not sure, to be honest that I would have predicted he’d be this consistent over this many games in the middle of the season. He’s really been mature as of late for a freshman.”
This was an attitude White saw during the offseason during a conversation that was probably one of the longest KeVaughn Allen has had since arriving in Gainesville.
“Throughout the recruiting process with him, I promised him that he’d have access as much as he wanted to the gym and that he’s going to be living in a dorm really close to the gym,” recalls White.
“He’s such a gym rat, as are a few of our other guys, but none more than KeVaughn. I was on the road recruiting in July when he was in summer school and he texted me that he needed to talk. I called him and he said he didn’t have access to the gym that morning and it bothered him a little bit. He wondered if I could remedy that. I said ‘Yeah. I wonder what the problem is.’ I had our operations guy get in touch with [it and] they found out he tried to use his key card to get access to the gym that morning. But the key doesn’t work at 4:30 a.m. That’s probably a little earlier than they’re used to. So he’s in the gym a bunch. Early in the morning, between classes, late at night, and that’s a good sign. We wish all of our guys would be in the gym as much as possible. He’s paid his dues.”
Now that he’s paid his dues and found a rhythm on the court of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Allen is also starting to find his voice a bit—in more ways than one.
“I mean it was funny,” says a laughing Hill, “In the game where he scored 32 points that was the first time I ever had him yell ‘Switch’ against FSU. So maybe he needs to start scoring more to talk on defense but it was pretty funny when he said ‘switch’.”
When you’re scoring 32 points in a game—and 94 total over the last five—words become futile, which is good because words aren’t how KeVaughn Allen talks anyways.
As Hill points out, “he don’t gotta say nothing if he’s scoring 32 points.”