Whether Kadeem Allen is sinking a game-winner against Michigan State, or being limited to just three points against Santa Clara, the Arizona Wildcats guard is always the same — never too up, and never too down.
And his head coach certainly appreciates it.
“He’s consistent with his work ethic, he’s not moody,” Sean Miller said of Allen, Arizona’s lone senior. “One of the hardest things to manage as a coach is if you have a moody player...It takes energy away from their teammates. Kadeem is just the same…(he’s) always has been that way, but as his role has increased, that’s one of the real keys to the team right now, that we have a steady leader.”
Allen’s consistency has not just made him a steady leader, but one of the best leaders Miller has had at Arizona, too, the Wildcats’ head coach said.
“It’s not just because he’s a senior and he’s not the most vocal player we’ve ever had, but he does it because of his daily habits,” Miller said. “I think each of the players, if you ask them to talk about Kadeem, they would tell you how much he loves to win, how that’s the only thing he cares about and that he does things on a daily basis leadership-wise that I really admire.”
What are some of those leadership things Allen does?
“His effort level, what he embodies off the court, doing things the right way, working hard in the classroom, we’ve asked him to play three positions, he’s played injured,” Miller said. “In his own academic world he’s come a long way since his tenth grade year of high school and that’s really to his credit.”
Miller said one of Allen’s best qualities is taking responsibility when things go haywire, such as when he missed four free throws in the loss to Butler.
“Up until then he was really shooting the ball well from the line. He probably feels worse about that than anybody.” Miller said. “You don’t need to remind him that ‘hey, you need to make free throws.’ He takes responsibility for the good and the bad.”
So far, there has been more “bad” than “good” for Allen in his senior season. He suffered a knee injury in the season-opener and it caused him to get off to a slow start.
Allen is averaging just 7.0 points per game, is shooting just 36.4 percent from the field, and has committed more turnovers than assists — all three stats represent a regression from a season ago.
But you wouldn’t know it from the way Allen handles himself on a daily basis.
“He made the game-winning shot against Michigan State, he looked the same the next day when I saw him after the Butler loss,” Miller said. “That guidance that he provides our group is really essential and it’s nice to see.”
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