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New assistant coach Jerome Allen ready to be a Celtic asset

LAS VEGAS — Jerome Allen acknowledges that it had been a difficult past few months since resigning his head coaching position at Penn in March after six seasons. He helped out coaching a local high school, and some girls’ soccer, and plotted his next move.

A previous bond with former Butler head coach Brad Stevens had led to something unexpected, an offer to become a Celtics assistant coach after Darren Erman left to take an assistant position with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Allen, 42, arrived in Las Vegas on Monday for the first official day of his new job and he was grateful for the opportunity.


“For me, it’s a blessing,” he told the Globe. “Brad had enough confidence in me to feel like I can add value. I am eager. I’m excited. I’m just looking forward to everything.”

Allen took over as Penn coach on an interim basis during the 2009-10 season and finished with an overall record of 65-104, with one winning season — 20-13 in 2011-12. The Quakers finished eighth in the Ivy League last season with a 4-10 record.

“I tried to look at it like I left it better than I found it,” Allen said of the Penn program. “When the door closed, I tried to keep a positive attitude. My time was up [there]. What can I complain about? I had six years at my alma mater. My two oldest kids go to Penn. My wife goes to Penn. That institution has changed the standard in my household.”

Allen and Stevens have known each other for years, and Allen facilitated the Celtics conducting a pregame shootaround at the Palestra before a game with the Philadelphia 76ers, which Stevens considered a thrill.

“Brad has always had an open-door policy from when we competed against one another in college or allowing me to come up and observe practice from time to time,” he said. “So I reached out to him and we stayed in contact and everything fell into place.”


Allen played a total of 117 NBA games with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets from 1995-97 before playing 12 years overseas. He said he is quickly reacclimating to the NBA game, and learning the Celtics’ roster.

“It’s a pretty young roster,” he said. “I think the culture is such that they are excited and going to play hard and try to defend and keep guys out of the paint and try to accomplish the things Brad is trying to accomplish.”

Allen will join the team Tuesday for shootaround in preparation for its summer league matchup with the Miami Heat.

“If I gotta get the coffee or sweep the floor, whatever I’m asked to do, I’m going to try to do,” he said.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.