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FOR MOST of his first 13 years, Lavoy Allen played basketball not on the playgrounds near his home in Morrisville, Pa., but rather on his PlayStation and Nintendo 64. "I didn't get out much before that," he says. It wasn't until he was in eighth grade that Allen, now a star senior forward for Temple, began playing organized ball, which may help explain why he was, in his words, "a terrible offensive player."
The 6'9", 225-pound Allen still isn't close to mastering the skill sets of the pixilated players he grew up manipulating. But even without a go-to move in the post—"I used to like a little left- and righthanded hook shot, but I strayed away from that," he says—Allen became the first Owl in 39 years to average a double double last season. His success prompted him to test the NBA draft waters, though after one workout, with the Trail Blazers, he decided he needed to return to school to work on his offensive game.
A two-time All--Atlantic 10 defender, Allen is just 178 boards shy of becoming the school's alltime leading rebounder. He also has a terrific supporting cast. Four of the top five scorers are back from a team that won its third straight conference title, including sharpshooter Juan Fernandez, who hit 45.3% from beyond the arc in 2009--10. The attack will need to improve—Temple ranked 75th in adjusted offensive efficiency last season—because with the departures of scrappy guards Ryan Brooks and Luis Guzman, the Owls won't be as good on D as they were a year ago, when they ranked third in the nation in points allowed (56.8) and seventh in defensive field goal percentage (38.3).
When the tight-knit Owls hold their occasional video-game competitions, Allen begs off, claiming his gaming days are over. Besides, anyone who wants to see how good he is at basketball can now watch him on the court.
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
Coach Fran Dunphy (5th season)
2009--10 record 29--6
Atlantic 10 14--2 (T-1st)
NCAA tournament First round
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