It takes some guys time to leave an impression while for other guys the genuine character and positive attitude leaves an impression instantly as Diijon Allen-Jordan did in Rhondorf. His time in Rhondorf was way too short as COVID-19 struck the world ending his season in March 2020. Unfortunately the American also was way to short on earth as he passed away at the age of 27. How he died hasn´t been released yet, but there has been a large outpour of grief and sadness on social media concerning his death as well as nonstop prayers going out to his family. The American didn´t play the 20-21 season as his last place of employment were the Dragons Rhondorf in the 19-20 season after having began with the London Lions. Family and friends in the States are devastated, but not only there, but also in Germany. He wasn´t in Germany for more than a month and he left such a long lasting impression that one can see how much of an effect he had on people. “Diijon was a unique character. He was very polite and respectful for everyone. He had a great sense of humor and was smart. He was a very talented and athletic player. He also had the correct attitude each day. At the same time he was a team player and leader. He played with a lot of pride and strength on offense and always played fair on defense. When other players shone, he was truly happy for them and when he played well, he never showed it. Off the court he was helpful and had an open ear. He always found motivating words after loses. It was fun and an honor to play with him, because he never gave up. We all miss him much. I still can´t believe it and my tears are flowing as I write this. He left us way to young. He still had his life in front of him. He was a super role model for the young generation”, stressed ex teammate Lotola Otshumbe.
Allen-Jordan was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and attended Plainfield high school. He didn´t go the normal route of having the luck of showcasing his basketball abilities in the much coveted NCAA, but played at 3 separate levels JUCO, NCAA 2 and NAIA. He began at Western Oklahoma State College (JUCO) in 2013 playing 27 games averaging 16.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.6%, FT: 70.4%. In 2014-2015, he moved to Francis Marion University (NCAA2) playing 16 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 70.2%. He would make one more move attending Campbellsville University (NAIA) playing 36 games averaging 17.3ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.0apg, 1.9bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 54.1%, FT: 69.1%. Despite moving around so often, he was thankful for being able to have all three opportunities. “Starting at Western Oklahoma was a complete eye opener for me . First day of workout there were 25 guys on the team and I was so nervous watching everyone look more skilled than I was. But that didn’t stop me from working hard. Being there showed me how many people there are in the world fighting for the same chance that I was Francis Marion showed me that I couldn’t just be an athlete but I had to put in the work to be great. It also showed me the business side of basketball and how some coaches truly care about their job position more than helping out players And Campbellsville was my calling going to a Christian school and reconnecting with my Christian side that I left behind when my grandmother passed away in 2010. But it was always great because I got to play with my best friend Sekou Harris who I played with from 8 years old until my senior year in high school. We made it to the final 4 of the NAIA 1 level and was the first to do so in years . I also met some of my closest friends there from different ghettos in America and we all were respectful young men”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan in 2020.
Despite playing in the NAIA, he didn´t remain unnoticed and was drafted by the Los Angeles Defenders of the D-League in the fourth round with the 77th pick in 2016 and got an early taste of the NBA spending training camp with the club. He began his professional career overseas with the Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 18 games averaging 13.3ppg, 7.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.6%, FT: 68.1%. He scored in double figures in 14 of 18 games including 25 points in a thrilling 87-86 win over the London Lions. In his second season he remained with the Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) continuing to give consistent stats playing 33 games averaging 14.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.7apg, Steals-3(2.1spg), FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 70.9%. He scored in double figures in 25 games including 29 points against Newcastle C and 26 points against London CR. He began the 2019-2020 season in the UK again, but would only remain a few months as he balled with the London Lions (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 11 games averaging 12.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 59.6%. Despite having solid stats as he averaged double figures in scoring for the third straight season in the UK BBL, he didn´t remain and traded the big city and bright lights for the small town and pretty Rhein river with Rhondorf.
The American came to an interesting situation with the Dragons Rhondorf. Just reaching the playoffs wasn´t enough, but their goal was to win the Regionalliga West title so they could move up a level again to the Pro B. A big problem that season for the Dragons was their defense where they allowed 86 points per game. Some games it looked like it was getting better, but then bang the next game they stunk up the gym again with inconsistent play. “Defense was an issue prior to me getting here and that is another component that Yassin has emphasized to me. He wanted me to come in and pick up the guys to play harder tougher defense. We believe we had a chance to win the title yes and we worked every day to make sure we had the right mindset to win”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan in 2020. He played only 5 games with the Dragons Rhondorf, but in that short time, he showed exactly what kind of a player he was. He demonstrated his inside out game on offense at ease, grabbed rebounds with a passion and hit the trey. On defense his biggest strength is his one on one defense. He simply brings the whole package at both ends of the court with brutal versatility and coupled with a positive character can carry a team in tough moments. “I was always taught to be versatile and to be a man of many tricks so that I wouldn’t be stuck in one category. But defense and rebounding will be my main focus because I believe that’s were the team lacked before I got here. We have a deep rotation of guys who can score. That part of the game will work its way out because off the motor I carry. Defense just comes with determination to stop whoever is in front of you. Scoring usually helps the game become easy and comfortable so if I can make whoever I am guarding to be uncomfortable on offense they will not focus on defense as much. And lifting helps my body continue to be able to compete, I am a CrossFit coach as well as a CrossFit athlete and I believe that every athlete should get involved with it”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan in 2020.
One guy who wasn´t only impressed with Allen-Jordan´s game, but also his character was Dragons Rhondorf CEO Yassin Idbihi. He left this tremendous heart felt tribute to a player he knew for only a short time, but obviously the American had a huge effect on him like so many others. “ Diijon´s death has caught me completely off guard. My condolences to Diijon´s family and his friends. We are all shocked and all of his teammates from last season are really upset. The world has lost a really good person who was trying to make this world a better place. We don´t have enough people like him which makes his loss incredibly sad. I feel bad because I was so focused on winning and building the Rhondorf basketball program that I didn´t really make time to get to know the person Dijon. The first time I realized Diijon was different when I saw he was reading a book on our way to a road game in the back of the bus. I was kind of shocked which is not a good sign for us US basketball players. I took some time to talk to him after that and he told me about all the community work he was doing in the US. He left me really impressed because he was trying to help young people through basketball. He was already doing so much at such a young age. The world has lost a beautiful soul. I can´t imagine the pain that his family is going through. Diijon always practiced hard, was a role model to the young players and friendly and respectful to everyone. He was a good person. Rest in peace Diijon. We will never forget you. It was a pleasure meeting you”, said Yassin Idbihi. I covered Diijon Allen-Jordan for a month and saw a few games of him. I interviewed him, but unfortunately had only a few short conversations with him that weren´t long enough. Sometimes you can realize what type a person is even if you didn´t have hours and hours of deep conversations. My conversations were brief, but I noticed with his gentle way that he was a genuine person and a guy that had a real heart. I´m very sad that I couldn´t get to know him better. I´m really happy that he effected so many people in a positive way. R.I.P Diijon Allen-Jordan.