Elijah Allen is a 26 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that is playing his fourth professional season in Germany and second with Lich. He started his basketball career at NW Missouri St. (NCAA2) in 2007 where he played until 2011 playing a total of 103 NCAA games and as a senior played 26 games: 14.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, FG: 44.8%, 3Pts: 23.1%, FT: 74.8%. He came to Germany in 2012 and played his first two seasons for the VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers (Germany-Regionalliga) and in the 2013-2014 season played 26 games averaging 20.0ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 58.7%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 68.4%. Last season for the Licher Basket Baeren he played 28 games: 10.4ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.9%, 3PT: 20.0%, FT: 72.2% He spoke to German Hoops before the begin of the 2016 Pro B play downs.
Elijah thanks for talking to German Hoops. You closed out the regular season with a big 93-72 win against the BIS Baskets Speyer. How important was this win for the self confidence of the team for the play downs?
Hello Miles. Thanks a lot for the interview. Last weekends game were very important especially for our young guys. Basketball is all about confidence and we will need it going into these last 6 games.
The team also saved the last regular season game to score their most points of the season. Did the team feel more relaxed than usual?
We made some tough shots for sure but I don’t feel this game was more relaxed than others. I feel we are a competitive team that just caught the case of being inconsistent some games this season.
A lot of the role players and young Germans were involved in the scoring. How key will the bench be in the series against Wurzburg?
Our bench has been the key all season. We don’t rely on just one or two people to do all the scoring. Every player has had a good scoring game this season.
How key was it that American Lamar Mallory had a big 29 point 14 rebound game after being out for a month with an injury?
I am really happy he is back and didnt have a major season ending injury. Having a good game this past weekend is really important for his confidence . After having an injury it can be hard to get your confidence back right way because a lot of times you can be hesitant to not reinjure yourself. I know he will carry this confidence into the play downs and continue to play well.
In the time where Mallory was out, Lich still had a 2-1 record without his services. How was Lich able to compensate the loss of the American best in this period?
We missed Mallory a lot especially on the defensive end. He makes a lot of plays for us that don’t show up in the stat sheet. We really had to fight together as a team to pick up those 2 wins.
Lich did a pretty good job on the defensive end this season giving up an average of only 74 points, but often would come back the next game and give up 90 points. Why did the team continue to have these breakdowns all season long?
We try to play defense at a high rhythm with a lot of pressure and doing unordinary rotations to try and confuse the offense. Some nights it really works and other nights teams figure it out at a high pace.
You really stepped it up offensively in the last few games. Did you let the game come more to you then usual or how did you explain this scoring explosion?
I have just been playing aggressive and just trying to read what the defense gives me. Our point guard Nil Angelats has really done a great job in getting me into positions to score the ball at a high rate.
You only made three three pointers last season and 24 this season and 12 in the last two games. Did the Steph Curry fascination inspire you?
HAHA! I would never try to duplicate what Steph Curry is doing right now. It is truly amazing to watch him hit these crazy shots over and over and over. Personally my shot selection comes from what the defense gives me and I try to make the right read at the right time. Teams are playing off me because I like to drive the ball. I am just taking what the teams are giving me.
Do you see yourself keeping up the offensive aggressiveness in the playoffs or will you go back to your usual play of being a glue guy that does much, but not necessarily have to score much?
I am the type of player that likes to read the game. If needed I can score the ball and if not I have no problem doing the little things to win games.
Do you see yourself taking on an even bigger role in the play downs simply because you have experience from last season as Lich has many young guys this season?
I think just as a leader I need to keep this team focused and encouraged. Not making playoffs is a bit of a disappointment. We were one maybe two games away from being in the playoffs right now. We need to now focus on winning the next game so that we can keep the team in the league. I am very confident in our team and it has been fun seeing the development of our youth.
You split the season series with Wurzburg 1-1. What will be key to getting that first win?
Wurzburg is a team that I felt also deserved to be in the playoffs. They are very talented and have good victories this season. They were also inconsistent like we were. We will have to focus on the defensive end to come away with a victory against them. They are a good club with good players.
How key will it be to containing German Felix Hoffman that registered two double doubles against Lich this season?
Felix Hoffman is a good player that competes hard every night. He is undersized at the 4 position and makes teams pay offensively from his quickness and strength. He is a good player and will get his stats. Keeping everyone else under control will be our main focus.
How did you see the NBA trades recently at the deadline? What teams did the best?
I thought the Joe Johnson trade to the Miami Heat was a really bad one for the Nets. Joe Johnson is one of the highest paid players in the NBA and Brooklyn got nothing in return for him. I really like the trade for the Heat. Now they just need to hope Chris Bosh can return and play.
Some of the older NBA players that played at different times are having a hard time giving Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors credit for their success saying they might not have had that success 20-30 years ago. Are these former players just jealous or why can´t they just give credit where it´s due?
In a way I understand what the older players are saying. The game was way more physical 20 or 30 years ago. Defense in the NBA is not the same as it is now. The pace and passion was also different. I can’t picture Curry making some of these plays on legends like Gary Payton. He would have hurt Curry before he let all these shots go in HAHA!
Recently ESPN made a top 100 greatest NBA players of alltime poll putting Lebron at #3 before legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and BIll Russell. Do you see that as being justified?
Like I said in my previous answer I feel the time period is just too different to really give a rating who was better than the next man. Lebron is a great talent and is the best easily in this generation.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Elijah for the chat.