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OSU basketball: With a long-term contract secured, Tony Allen at a great place in his career

Because of relentless energy and work ethic, particularly on the defensive end, Allen returned for a week in his college town as a mature, wealthy and respected man, the perfect success story for local campers to model after.
by Anthony Slater Published: July 31, 2013

And it's that highly respected defense that's made him so effective and important against the Thunder, playing the role of pest in one of the Western Conference's budding rivalries.

On a rotating basis, Allen consistently hounds Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, dating back to that wild seven-game series in the 2011 playoffs.

“Just look at what they got on the table: Westbrook and Durant,” Allen said when assessing the Thunder. “That's two of the better athletes in the game today. I was looking at that team when I first came to Memphis, like that's the team we need to mimic ourselves like.”

But last season, with Westbrook out, Memphis was able to burst by the Thunder, depositing them easily in the semifinals.

In the series, Allen helped limit Durant, who had little offensive help, to 42 percent shooting, including a 5-for-21 showing in the closeout game.

And that wasn't lost on some of the local campers turned Thunder fans on Wednesday afternoon, who jeered their OSU hero-turned-NBA villain.


“They were all talking about it. You see some in here with KD shoes,” Allen said. “But for the most part, it's a rivalry that started maybe three years ago and I'm just happy and grateful to be a part of it and be able to compete with those great players that they have.”

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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