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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Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

NEW YORK -- John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, scoring Washington's final four points in the last 32 seconds as the surging Wizards beat the New York Knicks 113-110 on Thursday night.

Otto Porter Jr. made six 3-pointers for the second straight night and added 23 points, but the Wizards needed big plays from Wall down the stretch to win their fourth in a row.

He made two free throws to put Washington back on top after New York had rallied to take a 110-109 lead, then rebounded Carmelo Anthony's miss and left all the Knicks in his dust as he raced down the floor for a dunk with 13.7 seconds to play.

Anthony finished with 34 points but Wall stole the ball from Brandon Jennings to prevent the Knicks from attempting a 3-pointer that could have tied it (see full recap).

Leonard scores 34 to lead Spurs over Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, rookie Dejounte Murray added a season-high 24 and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a pregame injury to Pau Gasol in beating the Denver Nuggets 118-104 on Thursday night.

Denver's three-game winning streak was snapped despite a career-high 35 points from Nikola Jokic.

Leonard had his fifth straight 30-point performance, right after learning he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.

The Spurs were unexpectedly without Gasol, Tony Parker and then coach Gregg Popovich. Gasol and Parker were both late scratches due to injury, and Popovich was ejected for the first time this season.

Gasol broke the ring finger on his left (non-shooting) hand by jamming it against Kyle Anderson's shoulder during pregame warmups while attempting a running hook. The 16-year veteran center immediately clutched his hand and left the court.

X-rays revealed the break, and the Spurs said there is no timeline for Gasol's return.

Irving, James lead Cavs over Suns
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.

Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms.

Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had a goal and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Jay beagle, Brett Connolly, Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams also scored, and Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Winnik each had two assists to help Washington earn at least a point in its 12th straight game (10-0-2) for an NHL-best 66 points.

Braden Holtby bounced back from his roughest outing of the season with 22 saves. Holtby was pulled after giving up a season-high five goals on 26 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. He improved to 22-8-4 and 5-0 lifetime against St. Louis (see full recap).

Grabner scores 2 goals, Rangers top Leafs
TORONTO -- Michael Grabner scored two goals against his former team, helping the New York Rangers snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller added goals for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves following a series of rough outings.

Tyler Bozak and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak stopped. The Maple Leafs had earned 21 of a possible 26 points in their previous 13 games (10-2-1). Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

Tavares leads Islanders to shutout of Stars
NEW YORK -- Getting a new coach this week didn't change things much for the Islanders -- and oddly enough, that's a good thing for New York.

John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.

New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight (see full recap).

Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown, edge Coyotes
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Minnesota Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Thursday night after the Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.

With Shane Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund's slap shot for the winner. Devan Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.

Louis Domingue made 21 saves for the Coyotes, who lost their fourth in a row and fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in Arizona on Dec. 17 (see full recap).