Each Friday we will count down the 10 greatest basketball players in the history of Virginia Tech. This week it is a Hokie that just hung up his orange and maroon.
Last week: #10 Bill Matthews
Jeff Allen | 6’7″ Forward | 2007-11
- Points: 1702 (11th)
- Points per game: 12.7
- Rebounds: 1111 (4th)
- Rebounds per game: 8.3 (9th)
- Steals: 233 (4th)
- Blocks 150 (5th)
- Only player in ACC history with 1700 points, 1000 rebounds, 200 steals, and 150 blocks
- Named 2nd Team All-ACC as a senior
- Named to All Freshman team and All Defensive Team (honorable mention) as a freshman
- Four time ACC Player of the Week, including three times his senior year
- Twice names ACC Freshman of the Week
- 44 career double-doubles
Why He’s in the Top 10:
Just look at where he ranks on the Virginia Tech all time lists — top five in rebounds, steals, and blocks, and just four points away from finishing in the top 10 in points. While some people feel like he underachieved in his career (covered in this article), his finished body of work is definitely top 10. The only argument is how high he should be, or could have been, had he been able to consistently play like the guy that could score 20, snag 12 boards, and pilfer 4 steals. He did that most of the last half of his senior year, but the big question is why couldn’t he consistently do that the first three and a half years?
Jeff may have been the most talented all around player in Virginia Tech history. He could do it all. Great low post moves, fantastic rebounder, lightning-quick hands that could create steals or blocks, solid low post passes, and by his senior year a sweet mid-range jumper that was almost automatic.
All it took was one game to know he was going to be special. In his Hokie debut against elon in 2007, he had 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. He even knocked down a 3-pointer. That led to him being named ACC Freshman of the Week. Jeff went on to be named to the ACC All Freshman Team, averaging 11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and getting 69 steals (that would be the highest steal total of his career).
His sophomore year Jeff showed some progress – his numbers went up to 13.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg (4th highest in the ACC). He also still created 61 steals, 4th best in the ACC.
Jeff’s junior year seemed to be a step backwards though. His points fell to 12 per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and 59 steals, all career lows. The biggest reason was continued foul trouble. Jeff had a reputation, and seemed to start games with two fouls. He’d sneeze and the refs would blow the whistle on him. The routine began — game starts, one foul 40 feet from the hoop, another charge called on Jeff, off to the bench for the rest of the first half by the first, or second, media timeout. He played just 895 minutes his junior year, more than 100 below his sophomore year, and 200 below his senior year.
In Jeff’s last year, he put it all together. Well, after continued foul trouble the first month of the season. After fouling out of five of the first 11 games, and committing four fouls in four other games, the light went on for Jeff. Allen tallied 14 double-doubles in the final 26 games, including seven in a row at one point. He was named ACC Player of the Week three times during that span. Unfortunately, the foul issues resurfaced at the end of the year. He fouled out of Tech’s final two losses and got just one double-double in his final seven games, leaving that bad taste in everyone’s mouth again.
2.26.11 – 18 points and 15 rebounds against the #1 team in the nation, duke. He also chipped in 2 assists, a block, and knocked down two 3-pointers (he only hit five all year) as VT took down #1 duke 64-60. Jeff was named ACC Player of the Week in part for this performance. It wasn’t his highest point total (he had 30 against bc his sophomore year) or his most rebounds (he had 21 boards against longwood, also his sophomore year), but it was his most meaningful performance. This game was against the #1 team in the nation and seemingly put VT in the big dance. On a night where Malcolm Delaney was off, Jeff was on. He was at his best that night while the whole nation was watching.
Highlights of the day and game…
Team Record: 87-50 (35-29 ACC)
The 87 wins in the last four years equaled the 1982-86 Hokies (Dell Curry Era) for the most wins in a four year span (unfortunately, Jeff was only a part of 86 of those wins — he was suspended from the win at bc in 2008). But it is what they didn’t accomplish that his teams will be remembered for — never making the ncaa tournament. The fact they never made it to Madison Square Garden in the NIT in four tries also was a bit of a disappointment.
Enough negativity. While Jeff’s teams were never rewarded for excellence with a bid to the big dance, they took Virginia Tech to another level on the ACC and national landscape. The fact they went 35-29 in the ACC over his four years says it all. Tech finished tied for fourth or better in three of their four years in the league. People expect Virginia Tech to be a contender in the ACC now, and that’s because of what Jeff’s teams were able to accomplish. While they never made the big dance, Hokie basketball is firmly on the map now and should only lead to more great things to come.
Oh, and the Hokies also managed to take down two #1 teams with Jeff’s help. These teams could play with anybody in the nation.
When Jeff’s career started, he seemed to be Superman. However, we seemed to be waiting for Superman a lot of his career. But as time goes on the legend of Jeff Allen will grow. He quite simply was special. He had the greatest hands I’ve ever seen on a big man. As time passes, maybe we’ll forget some of the suspensions, the fouls, and look back at what truly was a special career. Those who never got to seem him play got cheated. When he was on, he was perhaps the best all around player to ever put on burnt orange and Chicago maroon.
Junior year highlight video…
Check out his dunk at the 3:05 mark of this video…