Elijah Allen is a 28 year old 195cm swing man from Columbus, Ohio that completed his sixth professional season and first season with Kirchheim in the Pro A averaging 9,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,6apg. He will be suiting up next season with Pro A team Walter Tigers Tuebingen. In the 2016-2017 season he helped Gotha move up to the easyCredit BBL averaging 5,7ppg, 2,0rpg and shot 42,3% from outside. He is one of the few guys that has gone from the German Regionaliga to the BBL He played two seasons for Lich and in his last season there played 27 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.9apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 69.3%. 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%. In the 2014-2015 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 Hopps after his season with Kirchheim.
Elijah, thanks for talking to German Hoops. After remembering how long your season went last season with Gotha how strange was it for you this year to have summer break on March 31st?
It hurt not making the playoffs. That was a big goal for me this season.
Last season you played in the playoffs and had 11 more games. I remember you saying you had something like 5 heart attacks in the Chemnitz series. The playoffs is what every professional player plays for. How disappointing is it that Kirchheim didn´t make it to the promised land this season?
It’s was a bit disappointing. We had a talented group of guys. Good enough to have made a good run in the playoffs against the better teams. We lost a few games to the lower ranked teams and that ended up hurting us in the end.
You split the season series against Phoenix Hagen, but the 96-71 loss in Hagen cost you the playoffs, because they had a better point difference that gave them the eighth spot. This obviously hurt, but how disappointing is it remembering that the loss to last placed team Orange Academy a week earlier cost you the playoffs?
Losing to Orange Academy two times really hurt us in the end. We then were not able to execute our game plan in Hagen. We had a lot of open looks on offense but unfortunately we didn’t make them. A tough way to miss the playoffs.
If you look back at the season what things cost the team from getting to the playoffs easier? It seemed like consistency as you never had more than a 2 game winning streak and defense hindered Kirchheim from getting into the playoffs or were there some other factors?
I would say just losing to the teams that we were expected to beat. Our concentration level would drop against them and we made it hard for ourselves. If we would have won 1 or 2 of those games then we would have been sitting with a 6th or 7th place playoff seed.
What were some of the team season highlights and also your personal highlight. Possibly the 93-56 win against the Rheinstars where you had 17 points and 10 rebounds?
As a team going on the road and beating the PS Karlsruhe LIONS was a big game for us. Odds were against us and we came together and won. For me personally the Cologne game was pretty efficient .
Let´s talk about your teammates. Rookie Corbin Collins said this about you. “Elijah was a key part to my rookie season. From the first time I got there he was always willing to give me advice and always told me to just play my game. His experience and the things that he taught me were extremely helpful for me and my rookie year”. When you hear words like this, is this another good reason why your glad being a professional basketball player?
Most definitely . As a rookie it’s tough to know what to expect. I´m at the point in my career where I have seen almost everything. Played two years regio, Pro B and Pro A. I just use my past experiences to help others.
How did you experience the rookie season of Corbin Collins? He obviously has a lot of potential. What last words did you give him before you parted ways about what he can do with basketball in the next years?
Corban Collins is a good player. He will only get better. That’s the great part about the kid. I won’t be surprised if he gets a call up to the bbl or another country top league. Half way through the season I had a long talk with him. I told him, “Your doing good this year but you can do better. I pointed out what he needed to do to take his game to that next level.” He took in every word of our conversation and played his heart out. I have a lot of respect for him.
How did the game of point guard Charles Barton grow this season. He wasn´t ready for the easyCredit BBL with Wurzburg, but had a great personal season in the Pro A averaging 7,1apg. Is he ready now for the BBL, or should he be groomed one more year in the Pro A or get added experience in another country?
I wouldn’t go as far as saying he wasn’t ready for the BBL. Sometimes it has a lot to do with your situation and what your brought to a team to do. Charles is a good player and an even better teammate who deserves to play on the top level. This year he proved it and showed how versatile he can be. He will be ready for whatever team calls.
How did you see the further development of young talented guards Justin Hedley and William Darouiche? What part of their games grew this season?
They grew a lot. Nice kids on and off the court. Both act much older than their age. If they continue to put the work in they will have a bright future.
Let´s talk about your game. This season with Kirchheim you averaged 9,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,6apg and shot 41% from outside. How content were you with your second Pro A season?
I came to Kirchheim to show teams that I can play. I really put the work in off the court to be able to produce to help the team win. I´´m leaving Kirchheim convinced that I did that.
You obviously played more with Kirchheim than with Gotha and averaged 11 minutes more. Were you content with your efficiency this season considering there were many scoring options with Kirchheim?
It could always be better but I feel it was ok. Stayed consistent and stayed positive. I am leaving Kirchheim with no regrets.
You stated this about your game last summer after playing with Gotha. “This season was a learning process. I really felt I grew a lot this season on and off the court. Offensively and defensively my main focus is to make that next step. Knowing your role and picking when to make plays was a challenge this season. Making the most out of your role is essential to team success. I’m very hungry and determined to prove that I can play on a high level night in and night out“. How do you feel did your game grow this season?
Kirchheim ideally wasn’t the greatest situation but it gave me a chance to show I can play and be a big factor. I think mentally I grew the most. When tough times came I handled it better than I would in the past.
You really have improved your three point shooting in the last two seasons and become very consistent. Has this been mostly because of shot selection or just putting in the work and putting up many shots whenever possible?
Shot selection is definitely something I take care of the older I get. Getting good shots and understanding the offense is important to me.
With Gotha you learned more about spacing. What was something you feel you added to your game this season with Kirchheim that you didn´t have with Gotha?
Every player experiences shooting slumps. This year when I had mine it didn’t phase me as it normally would. I have learned throughout my career to keep shooting and stay positive.
In our last interview last summer you stated this “ I have focused on attacking the basket and working as a ball handler in pick and roles. I showed that I shoot the ball. Now I want to show that I can do a lot more. What are some things that you will be focusing on more this summer?
I will focus on watching film and trying to learn the game more. It is a never ending process. I think this will be key during the summer.
What are your summer plans? Will you travel a bit or just enjoy the life in Germany?
I am currently working out and relaxing with family here in Germany. We will head to Greece for a month in July.
How did you follow the season of Gotha this season? Do you feel that with a budget and the right adjustments and changes will be made that this club can make another run to the easyCredit BBL
I didn’t follow them much this season. I feel like if you have good money than anything is possible.
Who was the toughest player that you faced on the court in the Pro A this season?
I would have to say Michael Cuffee from Crailsheim . He was tough on offense and defense.
How did you experience the 2018 NCAA March Madness? What was the most spectacular upset in the tournament?
I didn’t get to watch many games this year.
Deandre Ayton seems like he could be the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. But having been in Europe this season you must of seen some highlights of Real Madrid´s 19 year old stand out Luca Doncic who belonged to the best players in the Euroleague. Should a guy like that be the automatic #1 pick just from sheer experience and talent?
I think both are good players. It should boil down to what the team needs. Both have huge potential.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
I think he would average around 16 assists
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Yes it was Black Panther.
Thanks Elijah for the chat.