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A third Thunderbird played Division I basketballPosted Wednesday, August 31, 2011, at 6:17 PM
When it comes to Eastern Greene High School basketball history, everybody knows about Levi Carmichael, the Thunderbirds all-time leading scorer, and TJ Yoho.
It is believed they are the only two EGHS players to hoop it up at a Division I school -- Carmichael at Austin Peay and Yoho, who announced that he has received an offer from Wright State in Dayton, Ohio and will be playing there in 2012-13.
But there was a third that slipped through the cracks -- Jeff Allen.
Thanks to former Daily World sports editor and new GCDW managing editor Chris Pruett, Allen will now get some of the love he deserves.
The 1979 Eastern graduate played well enough his junior and seniors seasons to earn a full ride to play for Dan Sparks at Vincennes University (I know not Division I).
In his first season, Allen played in all 37 games for the Trailblazers. He averaged 8.1 points and 3.5 rebounds.
As a sophomore in 1980-81, Allen scored 8.6 points per contest, including a season-high 16 against Lake Land.
After two seasons VU, the 6-4 Allen took his talents to Chicago and played two years for the DePaul University and coach Ray Meyer.
Last time I checked, the Blue Demons are a Division I school.
Officials at DePaul informed me that Allen appeared in limited minutes in 31 games in his two years at DU, who went 28-2 and 21-12 during the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
The Blue Demons were still a very formidable college basketball program then, having went to their second Final Four in 1979, losing to Indiana State and Larry Bird in the national semifinals.
The 6-4 Allen was known to myself, but just barely. He had scored 31 points in a 61-37 victory over Union in the Greene County Invitational on Jan. 4, 1979, but that was the only mention I had ever seen of Allen.
He started showing flashes of his ability late in his junior season. He scored 18 in a GCI tournament game and later in that 1977-78 campaign, he hit for 18 in a 19-point victory over Worthington.
He also had 16 in another game and 17 in a sectional loss to host Bedford North Lawrence.
In between, Allen scored what would prove to be his career high -- 31 points in a 72-62 victory over Monrovia on Feb. 11, 1978. He made 13 field goals and connected on 5 of 7 free throws.
He just carried over his success into the 1978-79 campaign.
As best as I could find in my research in the Linton and Bloomfield newspapers, Allen scored in double figures in all but one game. He was limited to six points against Shakamak.
After opening the season with five 20-plus point games in the first six, Allen torched the Eminence Eels and Pruett for 31 points in a 60-54 win by the Thunderbirds, tying his career best.
Allen connected on 12 baskets and made all seven of his attempts at the foul line. He outscored Pruett by 26 points on Dec. 16, 1978.
After scoring 31 against the Bulldogs -- the third time in his career -- in the GCI, he came back with 24 against L & M.
In the title game against Shakamak, Allen hit the Lakers with 27 points, 11 rebounds and scored the go-ahead basket with 45 seconds to play as the T-Birds won the county championship, 51-49. It was their fourth such title in the first nine years of the tournament.
His 82 points scored in the Greene County tourney was a record at that time.
He scored 29 in a victory over Central (Switz City) in February and had 52 points in two postseason tournament games at the Bedford North Lawrence Sectional.
Unofficially, he scored 433 points in 20 games, an average of 21.7 ppg. Even with those points, Allen did not reach the 1,000-point milestone in his career at Eastern, maybe one of the reasons that his accomplishments had been forgotten.
I wonder how many area players scored 20-plus points as a senior after not doing it in any of their first three seasons. I would venture to say not very many. If you know of any, let me in on another hoop accomplishment.
So now we know there are three -- boys basketball players at Eastern to have earned a Division I ride.
Two former Linton-Stockton softball players will be facing off against each other Friday. Lincoln Trail College, who's roster features Darien Huffman, will meet Olney Central College, who includes Sam Butt.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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