BLACKSBURG, Va. --- If there was a curious call for Virginia Tech in its 91-83 defeat of Maryland, it was coach Seth Greenberg's decision to slip Jeff Allen back in with 8:42 left in the first half.
Allen, of course, had two fouls. And this scenario, throughout the senior's often-interesting career, usually led to a comfy seat on the bench until after the break.
But not this time. And Allen, who quickly had a tying dunk, wound up with 16 points and 10 rebounds and just three fouls. He would play all but 58 seconds the rest of the way.
And where might Greenberg have received the inspiration to place some faith in Allen? Why, none other than a famous former Maryland coach.
"In the middle of January, I get a call from Lefty Driesell," Greenberg said. "He said 'He's a senior. You've got to play him. He has to figure it out. You've got to tell him 'You can't pick up a foolish foul. I trust you enough.' I'm telling you --- and you know how Lefty is --- 'Ahhm tellin' ya, ya just gotta play him, and he's gonna win ya some games.' That was the second week of January."
(For the record, Greenberg's imitation of Driesell was superb).
Greenberg said Allen, who came out of the game after his second foul, was about to be subbed out anyway. But after years of not being able to full utilize Driesell's counsel when it came to Maryland --- Lefty's son Chuck was a Maryland assistant and is now The Citadel's head coach --- Greenberg happily put the knowledge of a man who took four teams to the NCAA tournament to use.
"I talk to Lefty all the time," Greenberg said. "He's my guy. I talk to Coach all the time. I bounce things off him. I couldn't --- it kind of messed me up when Chuck was there. I wouldn't call. ... My dad played for Clair Bee. I have an unbelievable respect for the people who have been there and done it before. I call Coach all the time to bounce ideas off of him. Some of his ideas I accept, some of them I don't. But he's won a lot of games, and he has great feel for the game. I just have a lot of respect for the guy."