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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Michael Allen Men’s Basketball 1991-94

Allen big part of winning era

 

 

By Bruce Brown

 

Written for Athletic Network

 

 

Michael Allen grew up in Lexington, Ky., where basketball is king.

 

It seems only fitting, then, that Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns were crowned champions of the Sun Belt Conference in two of his three seasons with the school’s basketball program.

 

The 1991-92 Cajuns won the Sun Belt title in Biloxi, Miss., winning three tournament games by a combined 11 points, then shocked Oklahoma 87-83 in NCAA Tournament action in Tempe, Ariz., before a loss to New Mexico State brought down the curtain on a 21-11 season.

 

Some 22 years later, that win over OU remains the last UL victory in NCAA play.

 

As a senior leader of the 1993-94 Cajuns, Allen helped engineer another Sun Belt triumph when UL defeated tournament host Western Kentucky 78-72 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

 

Those Cajuns finished 22-8 after an NCAA Tournament loss to Marquette.

 

Returning to his home state to earn a second title was a fitting finish for Allen.

 

Western Kentucky had a great home court environment at Diddle Arena, and I think the game was on ESPN, so it was a great atmosphere,” Allen said.

 

It was definitely a team effort. We had great chemistry on that team. There were no egos. We had a fantastic year, and the team really connected with Lafayette off the court.

 

It’s more than a game. It’s about relationships.”

 

While the 1993-94 Cajuns were established contenders, the 1991-92 team surprised many with their season.

 

My senior year, we knew our ‘brand.’ We were still trying to find our brand in ’92,” Allen said. “We had a pretty decent team, but we shocked a lot of people. We had great athletes like Marcus Stokes, but we also had a great vibe, great charisma for the game of basketball.

 

We were a little like Loyola Marymount’s teams, free-spirited on the offensive side.”

 

Todd Hill led those 1991-92 Cajuns in scoring at 14.1 points per game, as young guards Allen and Byron Starks came in at 11.8 each. Allen and Starks remain close friends today, despite being several states apart, enjoying a bond as high school basketball coaches.

 

By the time he was done, Allen had scored 1,673 points in 91 games, averaging 18.3 points per game and helping coach Marty Fletcher’s program to a 60-32 record.

 

Allen improved each year, from an 11.8 average his first year to 20.9 and then 22.7 as a senior. He remains one of the most revered players in the program’s history.

 

It was a unique situation that led me there,” Allen said. “I had heard of UL. They played in Kentucky’s invitational tournament, and had beaten them (116-113 in overtime, Dec. 23, 1989) behind players like Kevin Brooks and Sydney Grider.

 

(Cajun assistant coach) Butch Pierre’s wife is from Lexington, and his first job was at Kentucky State. He kept recruiting me. The (UL) style no doubt appealed to how I play – go one-on-one, make plays – and that got me excited.

 

We had a great nucleus.”

 

 

Before Allen joined that nucleus of talent at UL, he was a high school legend at Bryan Station High in Lexington – one of a long line of stars produced by a hoop-crazed state in a simpler era.

 

It was easier for me,” he said. “In Kentucky, high school basketball is a big thing. Instead of having X-Box and social media, we played basketball all the time. I played pick-up against older guys – guys like Leroy Bird and Melvin Turpin, who went to Kentucky. I learned from them. It was a natural thing.

 

Then I had a legendary career under (coach) Bobby Washington, who made me understand the game from the mental aspect. He gave me the appetite to study the game.

 

In high school, we had chemistry because you were playing with guys you grew up with. I was familiar with them from middle school. In college, you have to develop that trust.

 

All three years in high school (freshmen didn’t play varsity) were phenomenal.”

 

Teammate Nimbo Hammonds is still in Lexington and is involved with AAU basketball. Roy Booker is a social worker, like Allen.

 

 

Allen works as a social worker at Bryan Station Middle School, next door to the high school, which he now serves as head basketball coach, passing along that love of the game first awakened by Bobby Washington.

 

I have 8 years of experience, 4 at my alma mater,” he said. “Sports can help you in life if you use the game the right way. A lot of our kids are on free or reduced (cost) lunch. Many are from broken homes and a low socio-economic group.

 

Many of the parents remember my playing, and that helps me to reach the kids, but this generation is also more soft. They have a sense of entitlement. But they give me credit to have done what I have done.”

 

One player sure to pay attention is Allen’s son Michael Isiah, a 13-year-old 7th grader who shows promise.

 

He definitely comes from my family tree,” said Allen, who awaits his chance to coach his son in high school. “It’s in his DNA to play basketball. He’s my everything.”

 

It can’t be easy, carrying the name of a legend, and time will tell how the younger Allen handles it, but his father has always been blessed with perspective and maturity.

 

 

Allen briefly played professionally in the CBA with the Fort Wayne Fury, and at times caught himself wondering why a college rival like UALR’s Derek Fisher had an NBA career and he didn’t, but he doesn’t dwell on what-ifs.

 

In the pros, you learn that it’s all business, and sometimes it’s who you know,” Allen said. “It’s a job. It’s nothing like college or high school, where you connect more. It’s a different type of bonding.

 

A lot of times, you’ll have your career mapped out, then God will send you in another direction.”

 

Allen’s direction these days is straight ahead.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

Michael during the 1994 season.

Click here for Michael and his 1992 teammates. 

Click here for the 1993 Men’s Basketball photo gallery.

* * * * * * * * * *

Our rich athletic traditions were entrusted to the vision, hope, loyalty, and dedication of those former athletes and we will forever owe them a debt of sincere gratitude. May God bless each of them and their families.

Anyone with information, materials, pictures, memorabilia, etc., of the university’s former athletic program participants is requested to contact Ed Dugas at athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu Thank you.

The Photo Gallery Link located on the left side of the home page at www.athleticnetwork.net contains over 12,000 pictures of former and current athletes and support groups. Just click on photo gallery and when the menu appears, click on the sport or support group you wish to view. The years of pictures posted for that team or group will appear and you may click on the year you wish to view. One click on a thumbnail picture or narrative and it is enlarged; a click on the enlarged photo and it reverts back to the thumbnail.

The Athletic Network seeks to post pictures of each team and support group for each year they represented the university.

The stories of the previous honorees featured in the Spotlight on Former Athletes have been moved from the News Page to the Archived News Page. Please click on the title of any current news story, then the Archived News link in the upper left to go to the Archived News Calendar.

The Spotlight on Former Athletes announcement has also been placed in the profile of each honoree, excluding the pictures.

2013
Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
May – Tennis Program – April 19-20 Reunion – Simmons, Cook, Albertine
June – Stefni Whitton Lotief –  Softball 1987-90, Coach 1995-97 & 2000-12
July – Tony Robichaux – Baseball 1984 and Coach 1994 – present
August – Jake Delhomme – Football 1993-96
September – Judi Ford Nash – Gymnastics & Trampoline 1967 & 68, Miss America 1969
October – Ursula Quoyeser – Softball & Volleyball 1981-84, Coaches 1984-86
November – USL Sweethearts 1960-81 – performance & service dance teams.
December – Michael Allen – Men’s Basketball 1991-94

2012
Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
January – Ruthie Dugal, Women’s Basketball 1970-73, Volleyball 71-74, Coaching 1974 & 75.
February – Eric Mouton, Men’s Basketball 1987-92, Coaching 1994-97
March – Robert Dunphy, Baseball 1979-82
April – Dawn Broussard, Track & Field 1985-89
May – William C. "Trey" Coker, III Golf 1990-93
June – Danny, Baseball, 1977 & 78, and Meg Scopes Cook, Tennis 77 & 78, Coaches 78-84
July – Dr. Johnny Mack Hollier, Track & Field 1969-71 and Band 1969-71
August – John Bordelon, Football 1973-76
September – Courtney Hofland, Soccer 2006-2010
October – Anna Petrakova, Women’s Basketball 2001-05
November – Yvette Girouard, Volleyball 1972-75, Head Softball Coach 1981-2000
December – Byron Starks, Men’s Basketball 1990-94 and Coach 2007-09

2011
Bruce Brown continued as feature writer.
January – Ashley Rhoney and Bret Garnett 1988 Tennis
February – Craig Perks Golf 1989 & 90
March – Eddie Baseball/Basketball 60-63,Coach 67;Ross Mouton Basketball 03-07
April – Kim Eisnaugle Chaffin Softball 1983-86
May – Grady Labbe’ Hunt Track & Field 1989-1994
June – Mike Heinen Golf 1986-89
July – Kyla Hall Holas Softball 1991-94
August – Charles Wimberley Track & Field 1953-56
September – Chris Gannon Football 1984-88, Coaches 1995-2000
October – Anne Corbello, Soccer 2000-02, and Ashley Delahoussaye, Soccer 2000-04
November – Nia Kiggundu Volleyball 1993-96

2010
Bruce Brown became feature writer.
January – Andrew Toney Men’s Basketball 1976-80.
February – Orlando Thomas Football 1991-94.
March – Rocky Guidry Football 1990-93, Track & Field 1991-94.
April – Track & Field Network & March 20, 2010 1st Annual Track & Field Reunion.
May – Keisha Ray Owens Williams Track & Field 1991-96.
June – 2000 College World Series Baseball Team.
July – Thirty Years of UL Softball.
August – 1970 Cajuns Measured Up (Football).
September – Boxing Program (1930-1947).
October – Dr. Sam Foreman Baseball & Basketball 1940-42
November – Rhonda McCullough, Women’s Basketball 1986-90
December – Athletic Network-from concept to reality-its mission and practices

2009
Ed Dugas served as feature writer.
January – Tim Thompson Men’s Basketball 1957-61.
February – Gene Bacque Baseball 1956 & 57.
March – Dr. Louis Bowers – Tennis 1956-58, Track 1955, Coaches 1964-66.
April – Dr. Carter Lomax, Jr. Tennis 1974-76.
May – Johnny Morris, Jr. Football 1927-29,Men’s Basketball 1927-30,Track & Field 1928-30, Golf 1927-28, Coaches 1947-49 .
June – S.L.I.I. Athletic Pioneers I
July – S.L.I.I. Athletic Pioneers II
August – 1912 – A Special Year – First L’Acadien
September – Glenn Davis Lafleur Football 1966-69
October – Bill Bass – Boxing 1938 & 39, Football 1938-40, Coach 1971-75 & 1983
November – Tom Nolan – Cross Country & Track & Field 1971-76, Coaches 1978-83
December – Military Personnel – Military Page posted

2008
Ed Dugas served as feature writer.
January – Alvin Dark Football, ’43; Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Track, ’44; Coaches, 1947.
February – Alyson Habetz Women’s Basketball 1991-95 and Softball, 1991-94.
March – Ron Guidry Baseball 1968-70.
April – Edgar "Glynn" Abel Baseball 1939, Track & Field 1937-39, Football 1937-39.
May -Christian Keener "Red" Cagle Baseball 1925-26, Basketball (M) 1922-26, Football 1922-25.
June – Paul "Buddy" Short Golf 1962-65.
July – Louis "Louie" Campbell Boxing and Football 1940-41.
August – Dudley Wilkins Track & Field 1933-35.
September – Brad Hamilton Football 1963-66.
October – Brian Mitchell Football 1986-89.
November – Kimberly "Kim" Callaway Morvant Volleyball 1988-91.
December – Kenneth "Mike" Stansbury Weightlifting 1956 – 1957.

2007

Ed Dugas served as the initial feature writer and continued until Bruce Brown began writing in 2010.
June – Michael Langston Football 1973-77;
July – Hollis Conway Track & Field 1986-89;
August – Leigh Hennessy Gymnastics/Trampoline 1976-1980;
September – Dean Church Basketball (M) 1961-65;
October – Dr. David Fisher Football 1946-49 Track & Field 1947-50;
November – Kim Perrot Basketball (W) 1986-90;
December – John McDonnell Cross Country/Track & Field 1966-1969;


Peace, Ed Dugas

Ed Dugas, Research Coordinator
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Network 
athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu 
(337)482-0999