May 24, 2012
Former Oklahoma State Cowboy Tony Allen has been named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the National Basketball Association announced this week. Allen received 33 points from the voting panel of the league's 30 head coaches, including 13 First Team votes.
Allen, who led the Cowboy Basketball team to the Final Four in 2004, just wrapped up his eighth season in the NBA, including his second with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 25th overall selection of the 2004 NBA Draft, he spent six seasons with the Boston Celtics organization, and owns a World Championship ring from the 2008 season.
A native of Chicago, Ill., Tony was the second-leading vote getter among guards, trailing only Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers who received 35 points. Allen finished ahead of NBA veterans Rajon Rondo, his former teammate with the Celtics, as well as Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.
This season, Allen started 57 of the 58 games he played in, and averaged 1.79 steals per game, ranking fifth in the NBA. Due to playing just 26.3 minutes per game, he finished third in the league in steals per 48 minutes with a 3.27 average.
Tony recorded a career-high eight steals vs the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 23, 2012, tying for the most steals by an NBA player in a single game this season and setting a franchise record.
Once considered an offensive liability, Allen averaged a career-best 9.8 points per game this year, excluding an injury-shortened 2006-07 season when he was averaging 11.5 ppg before suffering a torn ACL with the Celtics. He even tied a franchise record for most field goals made in a game without a miss when he went 8-of-8 from the floor against Minnesota on Jan. 4. Tony shot 47 percent from the field this season and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
The First Team distinction is a first for both Allen and the Grizzlies franchise. He was named to the All-Defensive Second Team last year, his first in Memphis.
"I'm extremely grateful to be selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team by the head coaches around the league," Allen said, according to the Grizzlies' website. "I'm a blue-collar player in a blue-collar city and look forward to continuing my grit-and-grind style of play for the Grizzlies. This is one of the proudest moments of my career."