GAINESVILLE -- Florida forward Adam Allen is one of seven freshmen on the Gators' 11-man basketball squad. Those fresh faces met with the media today (Wednesday) during the Gators' preseason basketball media day. That's when I found out the REAL story behind Allen's non-video game upbringing.
I spoke with Adam's mom, Kelly, this offseason when young Adam signed with the Gators. Kelly Allen is great for stories. She told me all about how Adam (pictured) grew up on a farm in little Milton, Fla. He worked the land, fished the lake, rode tractors, mastered his jump shot ... you know, all the things a good kid from Milton does. Kelly Allen also told me that Adam and his brothers grew up without a video game system in their house. "Oh, the horror," I thought. No Contra or Double Dragon (probably before Adam's time), no Super Mario Brothers, no Sega, no Halo, NO NOTHING!
"That's right," Kelly Allen said.
Not exactly. Adam and his three younger brothers (I'm the oldest of four boys, too, by the way) did, for a short while, own a Nintendo 64. That all changed one day when father Randy Allen came home from work and caught his boys playing video games when they weren't supposed to.
"He took the Nintendo outside and smashed it with a baseball bat," Allen said.
Ahh, that's a classic story. Sounds like something my dad would have done.
If you're a casual Gators fans, then this is probably the first time you've ever read the name Adam Allen. Trust me, you're going to read it a lot over the next four years. Allen (6-8, 206 pounds) is a big star back home Milton way. So big, in fact, the Santa Rosa County Commission honored him with his own day in the spring. It was Adam Allen Day all day long back on April 23. Adam, who was originally recruited by former Florida assistant Anthony Grant, is Milton basketball's all-time leader in points (23,017), rebounds (12,000) and blocks (321). He was second only to Nick Calathes (another Florida freshman) in voting for last season's Florida Mr. Basketball award.
Calathes, a 6-6 swingman, and Allen are two of five stud freshmen. The group also includes forward Alex Tyus, guard Jai Lucas (pictured) and forward Chandler Parsons. In keeping with Florida coach Billy Donovan's penchant for recruiting sons of former professional basketball players, Allen, Parsons and Lucas' fathers all played professional basketball. Jai (pronounced Jay) Lucas' father is former NBA player and coach John Lucas. Jai's older brother, John, is currently playing with the Houston Rockets.
Parsons' father, Gary, was the Division I-AA national player of the year way back in 1977. Chandler Parsons' grandfather, Don, played for Rutgers and was drafted by the New York Knicks.
And that brings us to Randy Allen, the Nintendo smasher. Allen played professionally for the Sacramento Kings. Randy Allen played his college ball at Florida State. Adam Allen says it was a pretty big shocker to his family (his godparents live in Tallahassee) when he committed to Florida. As for the video games, well, Adam says he's making up for lost time. He and his roommates (Lucas, Calathes and Parsons) have an X-Box 360.
"We play it all the time," Allen said.
That is until Randy shows up one day with a baseball bat.