Let's Get Some Work Done

Feb. 6, 2003

By Will Bardwell
Athletics Media Relations Student Asst.

OXFORD, Miss. -- If practice sessions and games are days at the office for a college basketball player, then senior Derrick Allen has a lot of vacation days coming his way after he ends his career at Ole Miss.

However, don't look for the senior forward to be taking any time off soon. He just enjoys his work too much.

"The SEC is the best conference in the country, top to bottom," said Allen, who has become a Rebel fan favorite because of his workman-like play in the post. "It's been really fun. It's been like a dream."

Allen, who spends a majority of his time underneath the basket scrapping with the biggest centers and power forwards in the Southeastern Conference, said he has enjoyed his time in the league. It hasn't been all fun and no work, though.

"It's been rough," said Allen, a native of Gadsden, Ala. "You're going against the best players night in and night out. But it's been really fun."

Despite the physical grind he takes night after night in the SEC, Allen has remained one of the most consistent players in the league. Through the Rebels' first 19 games, he is averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

During the non-league portion of the schedule, Allen's best performance came in Ole Miss' 56-49 victory at George Mason. He battled for 11 points and a season-high 9 rebounds in the win. Allen got off to a solid start in league play in 2003, averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the Rebels' 2 SEC contests against South Carolina and Tennessee.

Allen said that he is proud of his consistency, but that he hopes to raise his level of play for the Rebels' run through the SEC - like he did a year ago. During league action in 2002, Allen averaged 9.2 points and 5.9 boards. He also recorded 2 of his 3 double-doubles against SEC foes Arkansas and South Carolina, and posted career highs for points, rebounds, field goals, free throws and assists in conference play last season.

"(Rebel head) Coach (Rod) Barnes talks to me all the time about being consistent," said Allen. "Last year, I was consistent for two-thirds of the season and then I let down. This year I'm trying to be consistent and play the best that I can."

Barnes said, "We feel comfortable with Derrick in the post, but he got worn down as last season went on. Before that, he was playing as good as any center in the league. I expect Derrick to learn from last season and be one of our most consistent players throughout this entire year."

At 6-foot-8 and 238 pounds, Allen often finds himself matched up against players who are taller and heavier. Being outsized doesn't mean he'll let himself be outplayed, though, and he said that he looks forward to the challenge of playing against the league's bigger men.

"I see it as a challenge, but also a privilege to go out there and play against guys like (Alabama's) Erwin Dudley, (Tennessee's) Ron Slay, and (Mississippi State's) Mario Austin," said Allen. "It's fun because you hear so much about those guys, and then you get to go up against them and try to play your best."

To keep up his level of play, Allen knows he has to keep showing up at practices and games and putting in long hours.

"You get tired from so many games and practices," said Allen. "Then again, this is basketball. This is what we love to do. You've just got to have fun with it."

 

 

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