From Indiana to DePaul: Jorie Allen just beginning to make her mark at Lincoln Park


Alexa Sandler

DePaul sophomore forward Jorie Allen is looking to grab a rebound against Seton Hall on Feb. 15 at Wintrust Arena.

For some basketball players, they are the first in their family to play in college. But sophomore forward Jorie Allen is continuing her family’s basketball legacy. 

Allen, who is a starter on the DePaul women’s basketball team, is the third member of her family to play college basketball. She is now also the second member to play at DePaul. Her dad, Jeff, played men’s basketball at DePaul under legendary head coach Ray Meyer from 1981-83. And her sister, Jenna, played basketball at Michigan State from 2015-19.

The basketball genes run through the Allen family, and it’s now Jorie’s turn to create her own legacy at DePaul. 

“The DePaul alum connection my dad and Coach [Doug] Bruno had was really apparent, especially Coach Bruno initially recruited me when I was in high school and my mom’s side of the family is from the Chicagoland area,” Allen said in an interview with The DePaulia. “So, there was definitely that homegrown type of feeling.”

Allen, who is a 6-foot-1 forward, was named Indiana Ms. Basketball her senior year, and was a recruit that DePaul originally tried to land. But she decided to attend the University of Indiana her freshman year. She played all 32 games, averaging 11 minutes per game off the bench and shooting 47.4 percent from the field.

But there was something missing in that freshman season: having fun. It’s one of the reasons why people play basketball — to have fun. And in college, that can sometimes disappear with all the pressure mounting down on unpaid athletes. 

So, Allen wanted to find a landing spot that would allow her to have fun playing basketball again. She informed Indiana at the end of last season that she will be transferring, and that is when Bruno decided to recruit her again to DePaul.

“I was concerned about transferring; I wanted to find a spot where I felt like I could play like myself and be a confident player like I was in high school,” Allen said. “Something coach Bruno said in our discussions over the phone was whether or not I end up coming to DePaul, get back in the driveway, get to work and get back to that girl who fell in love with basketball when I was younger. 

“That’s something I struggled with last year as basketball just didn’t seem fun anymore, and at this level, it is going to seem like a job but it’s way too difficult to not have enjoyment or have fulfillment out of it,” she continued. “[Bruno’s] words were very encouraging to me, and as soon as he said that I wanted to come play for him.”

In April, Allen made her official decision to join DePaul. But she ran into another problem when she got to Lincoln Park — whether or not she will be eligible to play this season. In normal circumstances, the NCAA forces transfers sit out a year. 

But this past year has been anything but “normal.” The NCAA was granting immediate eligibility requests for a month before the season began in November, but Allen wasn’t hearing back from the NCAA.

“There was a lot of back-and-forth, so I worked with compliance through the fall and we applied for a waiver two different times,” Allen said. “The whole process was kind of exhausting; I was on the edge of my seat. I really wanted to be on the floor because I felt like I could help my team, and then watching and supporting them only made me more excited to get out there and to really participate.”

DePaul had to begin the season without Allen in the starting lineup, but in December she was finally cleared to play. In fact, every transfer in the country was allowed to play this season because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since getting cleared to play, Allen has participated in 15 games and has started in 13 of them. She is averaging 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. But there was an adjustment period for Allen coming into a new school, new conference and learning a whole new style of basketball.

In the Big Ten, they play a more traditional style of basketball. In the Big East, however, it’s a much faster game and is more about guard play than going through the post.

“The pace is the main thing you have to adjust to from the conditioning aspect and having an awareness on the floor of just that constant ‘go, go, go,’ whether it be on the offensive side getting quick shots or on the defensive side,” Allen said. “I’ve had to adjust to the role I play on the team. I’m surrounded by so many talented and gifted guards who have so many different ways to score. I really pride myself in my ability to set screens and know where I’m supposed to be on our own offense.”

Allen has two more years of eligibility following this season, but she is just starting to make her mark at DePaul. The Blue Demons still hope to make the NCAA Tournament, and if they do, Allen will be out there setting screens, rolling to the rim and grabbing any rebound she can.

“I wanted to play for Coach Bruno, he’s such a well-known, legendary coach in such a highly-respected program, and an area that’s familiar to me and my family,” Allen said. “I really feel like I was meant to be here.”