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#9 Jeff Allen | 10 Greatest VT Players of All Time

#9 Jeff Allen | 10 Greatest VT Players of All Time

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

Career Numbers:

  • Points: 1702 (11th)
  • Points per game: 12.7
  • Rebounds: 1111 (4th)
  • Rebounds per game: 8.3 (9th)
  • Steals: 233 (4th)
  • Blocks 150 (5th)

Of Note:

  • 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:

AllenBio2

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.

Greatest Game:
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.

Summary:

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.

Videos:

Junior year highlight video…

Check out his dunk at the 3:05 mark of this video…

Arm Curl:

2007 Capital Classic

This post was written by:

- who has written 1201 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • Martin

    Great post Niemo. As you realize by now I’m sure, I’m a huge Allen fan. Like you said, his unique skill set is just fun to watch, plain and simple. I started watching tech bball when Allen and co were freshmen and they’re a big reason I have become the fan I am today. Needless to say, it was sad seeing these guys go, I just really hope malcom and Jeff get a chance in the NBA. And that crossover slam against NC state, my god that was disgusting. I noticed how it was replayed in the season highlight reel like five times, great choice. For me, it was definitely the play of the season. Anyway, thanks as usual for the good work. For newer fans like me it’s great to hear about past greats like Bill Mathews.

    • Niemo

      I really liked Jeff a lot, too. I had the chance to meet him a few times and he’s a good guy at heart. Unfortunately a lot of people, especially refs, built another perception of him. It tarnished his legacy with some, but not really with me since I believe he’s not like that. And heck, I found the ball he threw off the duke guy’s head in the ACC-T hilarious, though it certainly didn’t help him (or us) the rest of that game.
      I wish him all the best going forward, and I’m confident he will find a pretty good career in basketball somewhere.

  • H-SCokie

    Martin,

    Like the NCST dunk, but I’ve got to go with the GT reverse dunk for his dunk of the year. That brought me out of my seat. All in all I think one of his best games of his career minus the Duke game. He played well and his inside passing game that night was incredible.

  • chuck

    Another reason for his step back during his Junior Year was Dorenzo Hudson’s emergence, as well as JT and Bell to some degree…everyone felt part of the offense (whether their poor FG att was warranted or not)….

    I always felt Jeff never really embraced the true concept of team play, he was a guy who could fill in whatever deficiency you had, but he often insisted in playing the same way.

    I don’t argue with his selection here, the #s bear it out. I just don’t think, as you suggested, that i will be forgetting the knuckleheaded plays/fouls/suspensions any time soon. We were often short-handed due to transfer/injury, and he couldn’t control himself enough to stay on the court.

    I also consider him the dirtiest player i’ve ever seen at VT. Several embarassing moments. To me, this is like voting Bonds into the Baseball HOF, we have to do it, in spite of all the negatives.

  • Martin

    He is like Bonds in that he may have negative qualities. But Allen has been reprimanded throughout his college career bc of his mistakes. I believe, for the past two years, the refs have overcompensated for Jeff’s earlier mistakes.. Bonds has not been subject to similar league-imposed penalties/ discrimination.. And yeah, H-S, his interior passing, just like his mid range jumper, really went up a notch this season. And yeah, That dunk was awesome too.

  • chrishokie

    At times Jeff reminded me of a super hero who had recently discovered his gift but hadn’t quite got it under control. I expected that issue to get resolved by the time he was a senior. It never fully happened although he got close. Some players mature later than others. Hopefully things will fully click for him one day and he can take full advantage of his natural talents.

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