Arizona's Kadeem Allen (5) dribbles past a USC defender during the UA-USC game on Thursday, Feb. 23 in McKale Center. Allen was selected 53rd overall by the Boston Celtics.
Two Arizona Wildcats are making names for themselves in the pros.
Freshman Lauri Markkanen, drafted 7th overall by the Chicago Bulls, and senior Kadeem Allen, taken 53rd overall by the Boston Celtics, recently began NBA Summer League play.
Both have performed well in the league’s Las Vegas tournament, showing the wide spectrum of their abilities during outings with their respective teams.
While the Bulls were eliminated from the tournament yesterday and Markkanen sitting out due to a left big-toe contusion, Allen and the Celtics prepare themselves for the Golden State Warriors in the championship round.
Markkanen came out of the gates sprinting in his first game and found himself near a double-double with 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists.
In the first quarter alone he had seven points and dominated around the basket — his first points came from this dunk:
Despite Markkanen’s efforts, the Bulls ended with a losing record of 1-2 and fell to the 16th seed Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. The severity of his toe injury is unknown, but he will most likely be ready for training camp.
Allen knew coming into Summer League that he had to play the game he was known for. Sticking to that defensive play, while adding a dash of offense, he dazzled the crowd.
In his first game, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen tallied his first points off this layup:
Although Allen was solid in every game, his best performance came in the final contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, in which he had six points, four rebounds (all defensive), two assists and one block.
In his previous games, Allen had a presence. He blocked shots, got defensive rebounds and maintained good defensive positioning. But his efforts in the final contest were sublime. He even had this circus shot that awed the fans and commentators:
The Celtics moved through their preliminary games in Las Vegas with a perfect 3-0 record. When they take to the court at 6 p.m. EST in the championship tournament, the spotlight will be on. Allen and his teammates have performed at a high level so far, putting them in a good position to win the tournament.