Jerome Allen's best Big 5 memory goes all the way back to his first game in the unique, historic Philadelphia City Series.
In the former Penn basketball guard's first career game against Temple, with the Quakers down by one as the clock wound down at the Palestra, Allen stood wide open in the corner of the court and watched teammate Vince Curran heave a turnaround jumper from 15-feet that rattled in and out.
Despite the loss, Allen remembers that game for a memorable quote by Curran.
"[Vince] said 'That was the 'E' in the game of horse,' and we rode him for probably the rest of the season about that comment," Allen said.
For the three-time All-Big 5 selection, the memories continued until his graduation in 1995 and culminated Friday in his induction into the Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Allen was joined by two other inductees: La Salle's Curt Fromal, who led the Explorers with 19.2 points per game in his senior season of 1964-65 and Saint Joseph's Susan Moran, who graduated in 2002 after finishing fourth in the nation with 23.3 points per game in her senior season. She now works as an assistant coach for the St. Joe's women's basketball team.
In his Hall of Fame career, Allen led the Quakers to an unprecedented three consecutive undefeated seasons in the Ivy League and won Ivy League Player of the Year in both 1992-93 and 93-94. He considers the 1992-93 Ivy League championship (one of three in his career) to be his proudest accomplishment at Penn.
He finished his career as Penn's all-time leader with 504 career assists and 166 steals (the former record still stands today while the latter was surpassed by Ibrahim Jaaber).
The Quakers' 1994-95 captain and three-time team MVP found out about his induction about a month ago while in Italy, where he continues to play professional basketball after a brief stint in the NBA.
"I was shocked and happy when I found out I was being inducted," he said. "But to stand on the stage today and give remarks, the emotions kind of get the best of you."
Allen did his best to acknowledge as many people as he could during his acceptance speech but admitted afterward that he forgot a few.
"If I could break this award up into 50 pieces, I could find 50 individuals to give a piece of this award to," he said in his speech. "There's so many people that affected my life as a player and as a person."
One of his influences was inevitably his coach, Fran Dunphy, but Dunphy claims that Allen had more of an impact on his career than the other way around. After limping to 12-14 and 9-17 records in his first two seasons as Penn's coach, Dunphy received the gift of Allen and proceeded to a 16-10 mark before the record-setting stretch of undefeated seasons.
"I would say that the fact that I've been coaching 20 years in college I would owe directly to Jerome Allen, to be quite honest with you," Dunphy said. "He meant a great deal to me, he was a terrific player, a great leader, a great man. He was a fantastic person to build your team around."
Dunphy considers Allen the best player in Penn hoops history.
"Everyone else would have to answer that question their own way, but for me he's right at the top," Dunphy said.Comments powered by Disqus
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