Adam Allen's injury-filled career ends with a "storybook ending"
Briefly, just briefly he thought about taking a shot.
As the clock was winding down Tuesday night on Florida's home season - and Adam Allen's injury-filled career - he heard the crowd encouraging him to take a shot as he dribbled down the court.
It was was Allen's first time on the court in three years - three knee surgeries having prevented him from playing the game he loves. But Florida coach Billy Donovan had given him the opportunity to enter the game with 25 seconds remaining and Florida on its way to a 78-51 win over Alabama for at least a share of the SEC championship.
And the student section wanted Allen to shoot the ball one last time.
"It was the first time I've ever dribbled up the court, first time at the point,'' Allen said after the game. "I thought about it (shooting), I kind of wanted to but I saw coach Donovan and he was motioning no don't shoot it. We were beating them by 25 and coach (Anthony) Grant recruited me here. He's a great guy, a great coach and I have a lot of respect for him and I didn't want to embarrass him in any way.''
As thrilled as Allen was to be in the game, his teammates were even happier.
"That was great,'' senior forward Chandler Parsons said. "That was the most exciting part for me, personally. I know exactly what he's been through. He's been my best friend since I've been here. He's been my roommate so I know exactly what he feels like and I bet that felt really good for him.''
Donovan said Allen thanked him "at least 10 times" after the game for putting him in the game.
"There were a lot of things that came to a pinnacle tonight,'' Donovan said. "One, Adam Allen's injuries and never being able to play, just being able to throw him out there. We could have been in a dogfight game where it comes down to the final minute or two. Just for him to be able to step on the floor and do that was very, very meaningful for me. That was a great thing because Adam's been a great kid. He's kind of been maybe a little bit of a lost player because he's never really played since his freshman year. But he's been at every single practice. He's so encouraging to our guys. He's great on the bench for home games. He wants to be a part of it. I couldn't even imagine being a player and just going through three years of never being able to play and having three different knee operations to try to get yourself back to playing. And you just can't play. So for me, on senior night, to be able to put him in there and to see his expression, just to go on the floor, it meant so much to him.''
Allen said after all he's been through, taking the floor one last time was an experience he'll never forget.
"It felt great,'' he said. "Gator fans have been awesome to me ever since I've been hurt. People still know who I am.They treat me like I'm still on the team, and you can't beat that. Gator Nation is just great. It was just a great way to go out. And I'm sure it made it nice for my teammates to see me get in the game. They were so happy and I love those guys. It was just a storybook ending.''