ALLEN FIRST BLUE DRAGON TO START AN NBA GAME

Hutch CC All-American Kadeem Allen became the first Blue Dragon men's basketball player to start an NBA game, starting for the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in Milwaukee (Photo courtesy Celtics.com)
Hutch CC All-American Kadeem Allen became the first Blue Dragon men's basketball player to start an NBA game, starting for the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in Milwaukee (Photo courtesy Celtics.com)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Former Hutchinson Community College men's basketball All-American Kadeem Allen had another Blue Dragon first on Tuesday night when he started at point guard for the Boston Celtics.

Allen became the first Blue Dragon – according to records in the Hutchinson CC Sports Information Office and through statistical searches on NBA.com – to start in a game for an NBA team. Allen and the Celtics dropped a 106-102 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

The Celtics, 53-24 and in second place in the NBA's Eastern Conference, play at first-place Toronto on Wednesday and return home on Friday against the Chicago Bulls.

In his first career start, Allen played 23 minutes and went 1 for 4 from the field, two misses from 3-point range, for two points. He had two assists, one rebound, one steal and one blocked shot. He also played solid defense on Milwaukee's Jaylen Brown.

Allen, who was drafted by the Celtics with the 53rd overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2017, had minimal playing time before Tuesday with only 38 minutes played in 12 previous games with the Celtics.

"I was always prepared," Allen said to Celtics.com after Tuesday's game. "Watching guys like Terry (Rozier) and Shane (Larkin) play, they prepared me all year for this. It was cool to be out there."

Allen started the game with the same style of play he showed in becoming a two-time All-American at Hutchinson in 2013 and 2014. Allen hit his first shot of the game 56 seconds into the contest, spinning into the lane and hitting a floater. He then dished to Aaron Baynes for a Celtic dunk 1 minute later.

"You work your whole life to play basketball," Allen said to Celtics.com. "And then when you get a chance to start in the NBA, it's like the hard work is finally starting to pay off a little bit."

Allen became the seventh Blue Dragon to be drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent since 1988, the fifth to go in the Draft. Shaun Vandiver was the only Blue Dragon selected in the first round.

He completed his storied Blue Dragon career after the 2013-14 season as the program's No. 3 all-time scorer with 1,425 points. Allen owns two career and two single-season statistical records at the time of his graduation. He was ranked in 21 career, single-season or freshman statistical lists, ranking in the top three in 11 career, single-season or freshman categories.

He is one of only three Blue Dragons to be named an NJCAA All-American in both years at Hutchinson. Allen was not only the 2014 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Player of the Year, but the NABC Junior College Player of the Year.

The Blue Dragon guard's sophomore season in 2014 will be remembered for years to come as one of the best single-season effort all-time in Hutchinson men's basketball history. He was a central figure for an injury-ravaged HCC men's team that finished 26-8 and was Region VI runner-up.

Allen was second in the NJCAA in scoring in 2014 at 25.9 points per game, scoring 854 points in 33 games. Allen posted eight of his nine career double-doubles this past season. He shot 45.7 percent from the field, 30.5 percent from 3-point range and 74.4 percent from the free-throw line.

He had five-straight 30-point games in November of 2013 and finished with 13 of his career 15 30-point games this season. On Nov. 15, 2013, Allen became the first Blue Dragon in history to post a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Redlands. He later posted a second triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Allen in the opening round of the Region VI Tournament on March 1 at the Sports Arena.

On Jan. 3, 2014 against Allen at the Sports Arena, Allen came off the bench for the first time in his career and scored a career-high 41 points on 13 of 20 overall shooting, 1 of 2 from 3-point range and 14 of 17 from the free-throw line. The performance was the fourth-highest scoring game in team history and just the fifth 40-point game ever by a Blue Dragon.

Allen scored 854 points this past season, the third-most in HCC men's basketball history. His 25.9 point scoring average was second only to the 42-year-old record of Richard Morsden's 27.3 point average in 1972.

The sophomore guard set single-season record for free throws (276) and attempted free throws (371). Allen ranked fourth in single-season history with 194 assists and was ninth in steals with 76.

After Hutchinson, Allen transferred to the University of Arizona. Electing to redshirt in the 2014-15 season, Allen was a two-year starter for the Wildcats in 2015-16 and 2016-17.