GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida guard KeVaughn Allen isn’t a big talker. He’s always friendly, but he’s soft-spoken and shy around the media and usually keeps his responses brief.
He’s been making plenty of noise with his play on the court, though.
The sophomore standout was named the SEC Player of the Week for the first time after averaging 18.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 3-pointers and 3 steals in wins of Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Meeting with reporters Monday, Allen said he was a bit surprised by the honor.
“It’s an honor to get the SEC Player of the Week,” he said. “My coach had text me around 11 something. He told me, ‘Congratulations on the award.’ At first I didn’t know what he was talking about when he said, ‘Congratulations.’ And then my family and friends started texting me, telling me, ‘Congratulations for the SEC Player of the Week.'”
Allen scored a season-high 23 points in that 83-70 win over Tennessee on Saturday, going 4-of-4 on 3-pointers over the final 8 minutes to help the Gators (12-3, 3-0 SEC) stay unbeaten in the conference and move up a spot to No. 23 in the AP poll this week.
For the season, he is averaging a team-best 14.7 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from 3-point range (35-of-82). He’s taken that next step in his development after a promising freshman season in which he averaged 11.6 points and shot 31.5 percent from 3.
Over his last seven games, Allen is averaging 17.4 points, and he’s poured in 18 3s over the last four contests, hitting at a phenomenal 62.1-percent clip.
Gators coach Mike White has pushed Allen to be more aggressive and keep shooting, and the message seems to be resonating.
It’s not just White, though. That message has been reiterated by Allen’s teammates, and the Gators clearly feed off the momentum he creates when he gets on a roll.
“It means a lot,” Allen said of their encouragement. “Like nights when I’m not on, I’m just missing, they just come up to me and try to encourage me to shoot, just continue to shoot and eventually they’ll fall. That means a lot to me.”
His 171 field goal attempts are 36 more than anyone else on the team and his 82 3-point attempts are 27 more. His 35 made 3s ranks fourth in the SEC and only one of the players ahead of him on that list has shot a higher percentage from the perimeter.
Top SEC 3-point shooters
|Name||School||3s Made||3s Att.||Pct.|
|1. Malik Monk||Kentucky||49||118||41.5|
|2. Matthew Fisher-Davis||Vanderbilt||45||107||42.1|
|3. DJ Hogg||Texas A&M||37||86||43.0|
|4. KeVaughn Allen||Florida||35||82||42.7|
|5. Danjel Purifoy||Auburn||34||87||39.1|
Even when Allen got off to a slow start this season, White made it clear that he wanted him to become even more aggressive and that he always believes the sophomore sharpshooter is going to make his next shot.
Especially of late, White is seeing exactly what he wants out of Allen.
“He’s definitely grown a lot in those regards. He’s gotten more comfortable with being assertive and being aggressive and becoming a go-to guy,” White said. “He’s such an unselfish kid that we did have to prod him for a while. Who knows if he’ll have times where he’ll revert into that, him being who he is. Winning is most important. He doesn’t understand sometimes how good of a scorer he is. But I think he understands it more now than he did a year ago.
“And I think his teammates have done a really good job with him too, urging him to be aggressive and to be the guy that looks for a 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.”