We spend a good deal of time going back and forth over a player’s ability to make it in the NBA. For a long time, I didn’t think Lavoy Allen had what it took.
Even on nights when he racked up double-doubles, I would tell myself the Owls power forward did it against inferior competition.
Nor did I take the postgame praises by Temple coach Fran Dunphy seriously. To me it was nothing more than a coach trying to save his player’s dwindling draft status.
In my mind, the 6-foot-9 senior was Mr. Too Laid-back and destined for a career overseas or in the NBA Development League.
My perception changed during Wednesday’s 78-61 loss to No.1 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Outside of Duke’s Kyle Singler (game-high 28 points), Allen was the best player on the floor.
Showing range, he made 3 of 4 three-pointers en route to scoring a team-high 17 points. He also paced No. 24 Temple (21-6) with 13 rebounds to go with three assists, two steals and two blocked shots in 39 minutes.
And it wasn’t as if Allen benefited from playing against an undersized front court. He scored on forward Mason Plumlee (6-10), center Ryan Kelly (6-11) and everyone else the Blue Devils (26-2) put on him.
His performance even impressed Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“Allen played a great game,” he said of the preseason all-American, who averages 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. “Our ball-screen defense in the first half, the normal way we play, the five man is usually not as ball friendly as that kid is. I though he really handled the ball screen well on his rolls. Not just on his shot. But he passed the ball really well.”
After only taking four shots in the first half, Allen lit up Duke for 12 points in the final 20 minutes.
“It’s great to see Lavoy step out and make shots,” Dunphy said.
Now, that’s what I want to see from someone who’s built up as a NBA prospect.
What’s up with Scootie Randall?: Apparently, no one at Temple knows the answer to that question. Actually, I believe the Owls do know. They just don’t want to tell us.
Randall, a junior swingman, missed his second consecutive game Wednesday after suffering a foot injury against Richmond on Feb. 17.
“I have no idea,” Dunphy said of if or when Randall will return. “It will be day-to-day. It will be he and the doctor and the trainers. They will let us know if we can get him back. He’s still sore. So I don’t know. I have no idea.”
Dunphy said that Randall was feeling better Wednesday than he was Tuesday.
“If he sped up a little bit, maybe we can get him back,” he said. “But we will see.”
Balanced attack: The Owls have four players with double-figure scoring averages.
Junior guard Ramone Moore averages a team-leading 15.1 points. Randall is second on the team at 11.6, followed by Allen, and junior point guard Juan Fernandez (10.1).
-- Keith Pompey