Even though Adam Allen has a fifth-year of eligibility, the Florida redshirt junior guard has decided he won’t return to the Gators next season.
The 6-foot-8 Allen, who has missed the last three seasons with various knee problems, will be honored on Senior Day before Tuesday night’s game against Alabama with incoming 2007 classmates Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons, and senior transfer Vernon Macklin.
“It means a lot to me,” Allen said. “Even though I haven’t been able to compete this last three seasons I still feel like I’m a huge part of this team.”
Allen underwent the first of three knee surgeries after spraining his knee during an intra-squad scrimmage before the start of his sophomore season. A degenerative condition that caused the cartilage around his kneecap to deteriorate created a painful bone-on-bone injury.
Allen took a medical redshirt. Then, after a second surgery wiped out Allen’s redshirt sophomore season, he went to the Andrews Institute for a third surgery to try to return to the court. But Allen said his knee didn’t respond well to practices last October and November.
“I could get around and work out on it,” Allen said. “But after I worked out, it would be sore or three or more days.”
Allen said he has no regrets about sticking it out and trying to come back even though he hasn’t played since the 2007-08. In his one season of college basketball, Allen shot 42.1 percent from 3-point range, averaging 4.0 points and 0.8 rebounds.
“I got my feet wet and I got a free education out of it, and got a chance to be part of the Florida Gators basketball team,” Allen said. “That says a lot.”
Florida’s success this season also has eased some of the heartache for Allen. The Gators (22-6, 11-3 SEC) can clinch at least a share of the SEC title with a win over Alabama on Tuesday night.
“This season has been the best season since we’ve been here,” Allen said. “We’re winning. We’re 11-3 and got a chance to win the SEC Tournament and get a high seed and make a run at the NCAAs. That’s good enough for me.”
A former standout pitcher who walked on to the Florida baseball team as a freshman, Allen said the knee injury also will prevent him from playing baseball in the future. Allen said he is on track to graduate in May and is considering a career in broadcasting.
“I applied for an internship for ESPN this summer,” Allen said. “I’ve been doing radio broadcasts for like Junior College games. I did two of them last week, so we’ll see.”
Allen’s departure will open up another scholarship for the 2011-12 season, though it’s unclear if the Gators intend to use it. Florida already has McDonald’s All-American guard Brad Beal signed for its 2011 class. Incoming 2011 three-star forward Walter Pitchford committed to the Gators earlier this month and is expected to sign his letter of intent in April.