By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky defensive lineman Josh Paschal learned a lot from former All-American linebacker Josh Allen, a national defensive player of the year at UK before becoming a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He played the game with extreme passion. I remember the jump that he made from his junior year to his senior year was tremendous,” Paschal, who announced last week he would stay at UK for another season, said.
That jump in play made Allen a lot of money with his first NFL contract but Paschal said Allen’s success his senior season was no accident.
“You could really tell that it was going to happen just because of his work ethic and the way that he would work when we had workouts and not only during the workout, but the work that he’ll put in after as well,” Paschal, who played two years with Allen at UK, said.
“It was much more than just a game to Josh. You could tell that once he had (his son) Wes, he really turned things up. Everything that he has now is a byproduct of his hard work and him being appreciative of everything around him and what it took to get there.”
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Philadelphia felt like it got a steal in the NBA draft when Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey fell to the 21st pick and the rookie has done nothing to disappoint the 76ers. He averaged 10.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 18.6 minutes per game while shooting 49 percent from the field.
He really turned heads in his first start in game 10 against Denver. He went 18-for-33 from the field and scored 39 points in 44 minutes. He also added seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.
“He was great,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “We needed him to be and we told him that before the game. He didn’t do it in a way where it looked like he was searching shots. He did it in a way where he ran the offense and got it in the flow. I’m really happy for him and not only just his scoring, he really didn’t turn the ball over, he had a great assist night, he had a great rebound night, he did a lot of things for us tonight.”
It was the highest-scoring game by a rookie this season and most points scored by a Philadelphia rookie since Allen Iverson got 40 in 1997. It was also the most points by a 76ers rookie in his first career start since 1970. Maxey became the youngest 76er at 20 years, 66 days to have a 35-point game and just the 14th NBA player to score 39 points at age 20 or younger while shooting 55 percent from the field.
That’s not all. Maxey became just the eighth NBA player with 35 points, five assists and five rebounds in one of his first 10 career games. The others are Frank Selvy, Oscar Robertson, Geoff Petrie, Alvan Adams, Tom Gugliotta, Iverson and Brandon Jennings. Only Maxey and Jennings have done it in the last 20 years.
The former UK star became just the fifth rookie to have 39 points, six or more assists and two or fewer turnovers. The other four are prominent names — LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Donovan Mitchell and Steph Curry.
Rivers did not think Maxey’s performance was a fluke
“I’m telling you, he’s going to be a terrific player,” Rivers said after the game. “He’s going to keep getting better. He’s gonna keep getting smarter by just playing with all these vets.”