Only two Temple Owls alumni are in the NBA. Tonight, they'll face each other.
Sixers forward Lavoy Allen will encounter a former teammate in Dionte Christmas when the Phoenix Suns take the floor at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I am proud of him [Christmas] for making it this far,” Allen said.
Christmas went undrafted after his fourth college season in the spring of 2009 and was one of the Sixers' final cuts at last year's training camp. He had averaged 19.5 points and 5.8 rebounds as a senior at Temple under head coach Fran Dunphy.
It was not until this year that Christmas caught a break and made his first NBA roster. His five-year journey finally paid off.
“We are the only two Temple guys in the NBA,” Allen said. “We have to stick together. He shot the ball a lot, he shot the ball a whole lot. My main goal was just rebounding back then.”
Christmas has appeared in 22 games for the Suns this season. He did not play in the only other meeting between the Suns and Sixers this season.
Allen, though, is in the midst of a strong stretch of games with the Sixers.
He had five points and seven rebounds in the Sixers' 103-91 loss to the Thunder on Saturday, playing almost 17 minutes. Since coming back from a calf injury that sidelined him for four games, he is active and contributing to a bench effort that is gaining momentum.
Allen is finding his personal stride, he believes, because of his coach.
“Him [Brett Brown] having confidence in all of us,” Allen said. “Bad games or good games, he has confidence, and I think that plays a big part of it.”
Allen’s numbers aren’t special. He averages 4.9 points and 5.2 rebounds playing 18 minutes a game. But he has a strong body and he can defend -- two attributes that are felt more than seen on a stat sheet.