Kadeem Allen is somewhat of an enigma. As Kadeem redshirted last year, teammates and commentators raved about his talent and potential, yet early previews of Arizona in 2015-16 occasionally forget about him. As the 2014 NJCAA Player of the Year, it's clear that he is very, very good at basketball, but it can be difficult to project just how good a junior college transfer will be at the next level.
So to try to evaluate how good Kadeem Allen can be, I took a look at some other former NJCAA Players of the Year and NJCAA All-Americans.
Marshall Henderson, 2012 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Henderson was definitely the funnest player on this list. He was the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and averaged over 19 points per game both seasons in Ole Miss. He led Ole Miss to an SEC Tournament title. He was an unrepentant gunner who taunted opposing fans and generally had a great time.
Cleanthony Early, 2011 and 2012 NJCAA Division III Player of the Year
Early turned in two very, very good seasons at Wichita State. As a junior, he made the All-Missouri Valley Conference team, but turned it up during Wichita State's Final Four run and made the All-Tournament team. His success continued as a senior as he averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and became a third team All-American.
Pierre Jackson, 2011 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Jackson was an All-Big 12 performer both seasons he played at Baylor and led his team to an NIT championship in 2013. Jackson might be the prototype for Allen to follow -- both were score-first guards at the junior college level -- but Allen put up even gaudier scoring numbers and is considerably bigger than the 5'10" Jackson.
Jae Crowder, 2010 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Crowder is arguably the best player on this list. At Marquette, he was the Big East Player of the Year and a second team All-American in 2012. He was ultra-productive that year, averaging 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. And all his college success led to an NBA career where he occasionally gets punched by J.R. Smith.
Doing Fine, Really
Tyron Criswell, 2014 NJCAA Division II Player of the Year
Criswell spent last season at the University of Nevada, averaging 9.2 points per game and starting 14 games for the Wolf Pack. Those aren't amazing numbers, but they're perfectly fine and the mark of a solid contributor.
Tony Bishop, 2009 NJCAA Division III Player of the Year
Bishop went to Texas State and, like Criswell, was a solid contributor. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a junior and 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game as a senior. Those numbers aren't outstanding at the mid-major level, but they aren't bad. Bishop has actually found some post-college success as well, playing professionally in the D-League, Lithuania, and Puerto Rico.
Chris Jones, 2013 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Jones was productive at Louisville, sure. He averaged 10.2 points per game as a junior in 2013-14 and was averaging 13.7 points per game this past year before being suspended, then unsuspended, then dismissed from the team, then charged with rape. A grand jury ultimately chose not to indict Jones on those charges, but Jones' off-court issues have dominated his post-JuCo career, at least thus far.
Casey Mitchell, 2009 NJCAA Division I Player of the Year
Mitchell was a productive player in college -- he was West Virginia's leading scorer -- before being suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. That was his second suspension, though he didn't miss any games for the first one. Like Jones, Mitchell was a productive player when he played, but it's hard to help your team when you can't play.
So what does this mean for Kadeem Allen?
The success of recent NJCAA Players of the Year bodes well for Kadeem Allen. Just about all of the players with that kind of junior college success have become productive players at the Division I level. The only real stumbling block has been off-court issues, and there is no indication that Allen will run into those sort of issues.
Allen might not end up becoming the next Pierre Jackson or Marshall Henderson, but given how other NJCAA stars have done, Arizona fans have reason to believe in Kadeem Allen.