NEWARK, N.J. - For the second time in three years, two student-athletes from the Atlantic 10 Conference were selected in the NBA Draft. On Thursday night, Richmond's Justin Harper and Temple's Lavoy Allen were both drafted in the second round.
Harper was selected as the 32nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic traded for the 6-foot-10, 225-pound Richmond native later Thursday evening. Allen was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 50th pick.
Orlando only had one of the 60 picks in the 2011 NBA Draft and that selection was not coming until 53, but the Magic clearly made Harper there man by offering Cleveland two future picks for his rights.
"You don't do a trade unless the guy you like (is there)," President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith said. "There were two guys we liked and the guy (Harper) happened to be the top of the two, so it's a good value pick."
Harper averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior in leading the Spiders to a school-record 29 wins, the Atlantic 10 Championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
"This is probably the best feeling I've felt to this point, besides graduating from college," Harper said. "This is like your dream coming true right in front of your face."
Harper was the second highest player selected in school history, behind Johnny Newman who was the 29th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Newman played 17 seasons in the NBA.
Allen is the 32nd Temple player selected in the NBA Draft and the first since Mardy Collins was taken with the 29th pick (first round) of the 2006 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.
"I am excited to be selected and it is even more special that it is by the 76ers, where my family and friends are able to support me," said Allen. "I can't wait to get started with my professional career."
"I am very happy for him," said Temple head coach Fran Dunphy. "He accomplished so much as a college basketball player. It is a great reward to be drafted and to go to the Sixers is icing on the cake."
Allen, the 2011 Philadelphia Big 5 Most Outstanding Player, ended his career as Temple's all-time rebound leader (1,147) and 24th on the all-time scoring list with 1,421 points. He also moved into third place on the all-time blocked shots list with 213 and his 98 career wins in a Cherry and White uniform place him eighth in program history.
A two-time first team All-Atlantic 10 selection and three-time all-defensive team honoree, the Morrisville, Pa. native (Pennsbury High) led Temple and ranked second in the A10 in rebounding (8.6 ppg.) while placing third on the team in scoring (11.6 ppg.). He also led the Owls in blocked shots with a career best 61 and compiled 41 career double-doubles, including eight in his last nine games.
The footage of Harper's name being called: (turn your volume up!)