Lavoy Allen Interview: On Doug Collins, His Time in France, His Evolving Game and the Song 'Moves Like Jagger'

Lavoy Allen Interview: On Doug Collins, His Time in France, His Evolving Game and the Song 'Moves Like Jagger'

Sixers training camp officially opened last Friday night, with the team getting in its very first practice after the end of the NBA Lockout. Like we did with former Temple standout and current Philadelphia Eagle Jaiquawn Jarrett, we were fortunate enough to catch up with another former Owl, the 76ers' 2011 second round draft pick: Lavoy Allen.

We spoke with the 6-9 power forward just hours after he signed his first professional contract, and approximately 22-hours before the Temple-Villanova game (so treat the time sensitive material accordingly). Topics range from his time with Strasbourg IG in France to his relationship with Doug Collins to his affinity for desserts and Chinese food. [interview below]

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Nick: So, you signed your first professional contract today. What was that like?

Lavoy Allen: Feels great. It's my dream to play in the NBA. So now I'm step closer to living my dream.

Nick: How was France?

Lavoy: France was a good time. I played with a good team. Our coach [Vincent Collet] was the coach of the French national team, so he had a lot of knowledge to give us. And I played with a lot of great players, great young players. So it was a good time.

Nick: Alright let's play a little "best and worst." We'll start with best. Best thing about being in France?

Lavoy: Best thing? They have a lot of good desserts, and I'm big on eating, so…

Nick: Worst thing about being in France?

Lavoy: I'd have to say the language barrier. You can't really communicate with everyone out there. You know, some people speak English, but it was really tough.

Nick: Weirdest thing?

Lavoy: Ah…everything is closed on Sundays. Everything. Yeah, you can't do anything.

Nick: It's been eight months since we last saw you in the NCAA tournament. What part of your game is the most different now as compared to then?

Lavoy: I think just being more physical. I put a little weight on, 'cause when I played in France, I played with a couple physical guys. I'd say I'm more aggressive on offense, also.

Nick: After you were drafted, there was a brief time between your selection and when the NBA locked out its players. During that time, did you get any sense from Sixers' coach Doug Collins about what he wanted you to work on?

Lavoy: I didn't get a lot [of time to talk], because after our press conference, he had to go around to talk to the other guys before the lockout started. He left [to meet with them] that night. But he told me…just, to be more aggressive offensively. He likes the way I pass. That's a big thing with this team, sharing the ball. He says I can be a little too "unaggressive" at times, so just to look for my own shot more often.

Nick: Since this is only the first day of camp, I imagine you haven't had much more of a chance to talk him, but what are your first impressions of your new coach?

Lavoy: He's a great coach, and also a great teacher. I've played for some great coaches before like coach Dunphy and coach Collet over in France, and those guys also had a lot of knowledge to share. So I'm just going to prepare for him to be a teacher, and I'm going to try to soak everything in.

Nick: Heading back to the draft, what's your relationship with Nic Vucevic like? You guys have any friendly rivalry at all since you got drafted together?

Lavoy: [laughs] Nah, I mean, I saw him the day after the draft, but this is like our second time seeing each other, because we both went overseas. But he seems like a good guy. He's reserved. And I'm not a big talker, either. So I think we'll get along well.

Nick: What are your impressions of his game right off the bat?

Lavoy: He can shoot the ball. He can definitely score. Yeah, good scorer.

Nick: We talked about coach Collins, but what your old coach? Have you been in contact with coach Dunphy since leaving Temple?

Lavoy: Oh yeah, yeah. I got back from France this past Sunday, and I've been up to school to visit the guys and to work out up there.

Nick: I know you're still pretty close with a lot of guys on the team. Anybody on Twitter can see that. Freshman Anthony Lee finds himself in the same spot you found yourself as a senior, in that both Michael Eric and Scootie Randall are injured and he's playing the role of the lone big guy on the team. Have you talked to him at all? Tried to give him any advice?

Lavoy: I haven't really talked to him. But if I did have something for him, I'd tell him to just be ready to fight with the guys down low. He's going to play against some real physical guys, especially tomorrow. They play Villanova. [Villanova center Mouphtaou] Yarou is definitely a physical guy. I remember that from last year. I'd tell him to just keep competing and to run the floor and to listen to coach Dunphy and to help the team in any way he can.

Nick: He's in a tough spot, trying to balance being aggressive with being responsible. It's the same spot you found yourself in last season. I don't know if you know this or not, but during and after the San Diego State game, you actually trended in Philadelphia on Twitter. And a lot of it was pretty negative. The word "soft" was thrown around quite a bit. Are you aware of those kinds of criticisms about your game?

Lavoy: I've been hearing that since high school, so it's not a surprise. My opinion about…I don't pay too much attention, you know, to what people say. I just pay attention to, like…at the time, I was listening to what the NBA scouts were saying and listening to them. I wasn't really worried about what the public opinion was. And right now the only opinion I'm really worried about is what coach Collins and his assistants think.

Nick: A few years ago, your former teammate Dionte Christmas was in this same spot, trying to make the team out of camp. Have you talked to him at all? Has he given you any advice?

Lavoy: I haven't. I haven't been in contact with him. He's over in Greece. But it might  be a good idea to hit him up. [laughs]

Nick: What are your expectations moving forward? We heard you say earlier that you haven't been given any guarantees, but this is your dream so you're taking your shot. Do you expect to be with this team when the season opens?

Lavoy: Yeah. Yeah, I definitely see myself with this team. I'm going to work every day in practice. I'm going to be physical with the guys. I'm not going to back down. I'm not going to be afraid.

Nick: We've got two more for you and then we'll let you go. We asked one of your fellow Owls Jaiquawn Jarrett these questions when we talked to him in training ca
mp, so we figure we should ask you. Favorite spot to eat on Temple's campus?

Lavoy: Favorite spot to eat would be….Qdoba. No, no, no, no…Master Wok.

Nick: Alright, and we understand athletes tend to listen to music before games.

Lavoy: Yeah.

Nick: What do you listen to?

Lavoy: I listen to a lot of hip hop and rap. Jay-Z, Kanye…

Nick: Give us a specific artist and track. We'll link to it under the interview.

Lavoy: Oh, alright. So like right before the game? Although I like hip rop and rap the best, I also listen to a little bit of pop and rock and all that. So I have to say, um…"Moves like Jagger."

Nick: Lavoy Allen, thanks for time.

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Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Former Eagle Byron Maxwell benched by Dolphins

Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell is not starting tonight against the Bengals. Maxwell, who the Eagles traded this past offseason, was already seeing his playing time diminish. Now, he will sit in favor of Tony Lippett, who has not seen a single snap for the Dolphins this season.

The Eagles big trade this offseason keeps getting better and better.  They acquired the 8th overall pick in the draft in exchange for the 13 overall pick, Maxwell and Kiko Alonzo. Not only were they able to rid themselves of Maxwell’s awful contract, but they were able to get value for a player who is now not considered an NFL starter. 

The 8th overall pick that the Eagles acquired from Miami was flipped to the Browns among other picks to move up to number two. As you may know, that number two pick became offensive rookie of the month Carson Wentz. 

At the time of the trade, Maxwell originally failed his physical due to a shoulder injury. It was reported that the shoulder was so bad that he could not perform a simple pushup, but the Dolphins traded for him anyway.

The Byron Maxwell trade was the stepping stone for the Eagles to land their quarterback of the future, and this news can only make them feel better about the move. Howie Roseman had an incredible offseason cleaning up the mess Chip Kelly left behind, and Maxwell’s benching will certainly help his case for executive of the year. 

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens (Noel) - Jahlil (Okafor) thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist.