Long-time readers and friends of mine know I'm obsessed with basketball history.
Of course, one of the Meccas of basketball history in the country is located at Wyandotte High School. Wyandotte's won 20 state championships in school history and by my research, at least 33 Bulldogs have played at Division 1 programs in history.
That's pretty strong.
The best Bulldog out of that bunch was Lucius Allen.
Researching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career for an upcoming column about the NBA's best centers ever, you come across Allen's name frequently. Allen played with Kareem in both college (UCLA) and for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.
Having researched Allen over the past week or so, it's insane how good he was and how much he won.
Some notes about Allen and his career:
- He played six combined seasons at the varsity level at Wyandotte and UCLA. In those six seasons, his teams lost a combined four games. Doing the math, Allen's teams lost less than one game a year on average for a six-year period. If you take out his junior season at Wyandotte when the Bulldogs "slumped" and lost twice, he lost two games in five years.
- In that same six-year stretch, Allen's teams won two state titles and three NCAA titles.
- He routinely played all five positions in high school even though his natural position was at guard - and he played them well. You don't run into many of those type of players.
- He averaged 26 points a game over his last two seasons at Wyandotte and like Michael Jordan, he was a great two-way player. His defense was outstanding and was referred to as a "devilish defender" by the Topeka Capital-Journal.
- Allen still holds school records...and school records at Wyandotte mean something, considering they won 20 state titles and have over 30 Division 1 players.
- In December 1999, he was voted as the best high school basketball player in the State of Kansas' history by The Topeka Capital-Journal. Other players worth considering for that award: Antoine Carr, Darnell Valentine and Danny Manning.
- I did not have the pleasure of watching Allen played basketball. However, John Wooden did and here's what he said: “Lucius Allen had about every qualification a player could have at the guard position." That's coming from someone who's forgotten more basketball than anyone in KCK will ever learn.
- Speaking of Wooden, is there any possible better indication of how great a high school player was than being recruited by John Wooden's UCLA program? That was the best dynasty in sports history and for Allen to be a part of it spoke volumes about his game.
- He was a two-time All-American during his career at UCLA even though he played under the shadow (literally and figurately) of one of the three best basketball players ever in Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
- He was the second option (behind Kareem) on the 1968 UCLA Bruins, widely regarded as the best team in college basketball history.
If you can't answer that right away, let's go back to his NBA career for a minute.
He basically had a 17-point, 6-assist and 4-rebound per-36 minute stat line. Considering Allen was a sixth man some seasons, he normally did not play as many minutes as he could have, meaning the 36-minute average applies well to him. He was also eighth in the league in steals in 1974.
He was the sixth-man on the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks team, one of the seven best NBA teams ever. The Bucks won the title that year, meaning Allen won a state title, NCAA title and professional title within a six-year stretch. Not bad.
In regards to the "was anyone in KCK better" question, I say no - and if you demanded me to put together a Wyandotte County Sports Mount Rushmore, Lucius Allen is one of the first four names I would pick.