Slow weekend for Gator sports, for the most part.Yeah, the baseball team played, but there were no huge committments for football, no arrests for UGA, FSU or Tennessee (is that possible?) and no more basketball.
But what I managed to do was pull of an interview with former Gator basketball player Adam Allen.
For those of you that DON’T know (and honestly, you should be ashamed if you don’t, because he has a remarkable story), Allen played for the Gators as a freshman, and didn’t do badly. All the coaches were saying that he would have a bright future ahead of him.
But then, he ruined his knee in three straight seasons. He was trying to mount a comeback to play next season, but in the end, decided it was too much for him.
Yet Allen didn’t complain. He took it so well I honestly believed the compliance people- yes, the ones that ruined my hopes at a Jeff Demps interview- fed him what to say.
But after talking to him, it didn’t seem that way.
Anyway, he went through Senior Night with a big smile. But it got even bigger when Billy Donovan called on him at the end of the 78-51 throttling of Alabama for the SEC Championship to dribble the clock out.
He’s a great kid, and Billy was a great guy to show that touching gesture. Because Allen didn’t have to stay with the team. He didn’t have to go to practices. But he did.
Anyway, I just bought a MacBook, and as soon as I figure out how to upload the damned thing onto youtube, I’ll put it up here as well.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, he was with Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin when I conducted the interview. I felt that it was fair to give Allen most of the attention, since Parsons and Macklin have been covered to death, and probably didn’t want to answer lots of questions over and over, but how could I pass up a chance like that?
I shortened his answers a little bit, but again, once the full version goes up, you’ll hear everything.
Neil Shulman: You came into Gainesville on the heel of back to back National Championships. What was it like dealing with those expectations along with the other seniors?
Adam Allen: It wasn’t just the basketball team, it was the combined success of the basketball and the football team. It was definitely a lot of pressure, and since we were young, it got to us. It showed when we played. But we were in it as a team, as a senior class, and picked each other up.
Neil: Speaking of those other seniors, you ever still talk to Nick Calathes? How is he doing?
Adam: Yeah, I talk to Nick every now and then. He’s in Greece, and doing pretty well.
Neil: After two seasons of missing the NCAA tournament, you came back as junior, only to have your knee issues continue. How frustrating was that?
Adam: Very frustrating. I thought it would be a 10 day thing or so, but it just wasn’t. I just physically couldn’t do it, and it aggravated me. But everything happens for a reason, so I just accepted it. That’s how I looked at it, and it alleviated some of the pain.
Neil: I’m sure it was a very difficult decision to opt to give up basketball. What was the deciding factor in that choice?
Adam: I just couldn’t do it. There are so many things that a basketball player needs to do regarding quickness with his feet, and I just couldn’t do many of them. It was frustrating, but I just couldn’t will my feet and my legs to do it anymore.
Neil: Billy Donovan calls on you to dribble out the clock to secure the blowout over Alabama that gives the Gators the SEC Championship. What’s going through your mind when he calls your name, as you’re about to get the ball, and as the clock winds down?
Adam: That was a fantastic moment. I had been told before the game that I might be called on, and when it came, it was just unreal. It was just indescribable.
Neil: What was it like getting revenge on Jimmer in the Sweet 16?
Adam: It was great. We knew that we’d have to play great, and we did. BYU was a great team, and we remembered what it felt like to get knocked out by them a year ago, and it felt great to be able to return the favor.
Neil: What was the conversation like between you and your fellow seniors following the heartbreaking loss in the Elite 8?
Adam: We just told each other to keep our heads up. It hurt a lot, and we just needed to stay positive about everything. We couldn’t let it keep getting to us.
Neil Lots of people say that their coach is like a father figure to them. Is that true for you, and if so how? What did Coach Donovan do to make you think of him as a father figure? And I’ve heard the same thing said about your teammates being like brothers. Describe that as well:
Adam: I’m actually in the car with them right now, Chandler and Vern. We just went to the Magic game, and we’re coming back to Gainesville. We do a lot togther. It’s great, knowing that you’ve got a great set of buddies forever. We’ve practiced together, felt each other’s joy, and misery. As for Coach, Billy Donovan’s a great guy. Everything he’s done for me could be a great example. He was very supportive of me during my continuing knee issues, and I thank him for that.
Neil: You’re majoring in telecommunications. Do you see yourself as a broadcaster for Gator games someday?
Adam: Oh, I have no idea what I want to do. I’ll just go with the flow and see what happens.
Neil: I had no idea I’d get the three of you, I thought it was just you, Adam. But can you all tell me, what will you most remember about your time at Florida? What comes to mind as you walk away?
Vernon Macklin: The way I was treated after coming from Georgetown. Being embraced with open arms from the day I got here.
Chandler Parsons: The game winning shot.
Neil: Which one, Chandler?
Chandler Parsons: Well, I’ll remember both really well, but probably the one against NC State.
Neil: What about you, Adam?
Adam: Dribbling the clock out against Alabama. I’ll never forget that.
Neil: Thanks a lot guys. I really do appreciate it.