Basketball Recruiting News
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©August 05th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
An Illinois fan who lives in Lexington tried to recruit Kahlil Whitney while he was on his official visit at Kentucky.
“Big Reece” who goes by @mayntainperfect on Twitter posted a video saying that he yelled “I-L-L-I-N-I” to Whitney and his family while they were riding a golf cart on Kentucky’s campus.
“I just seen Kahlil Whitney and his family turn on a golf cart, and they went straight up this street here,” “Big Reece” said on the video. “As soon as I seen him, I hollered his name out…I just hollered out I-L-L-I-N-I.”
— #ILLGang's Finest (@mayntainperfect) August 4, 2018
Adam Zagoria confirmed the encounter with Whitney’s father.
Kelly Whitney said the visit was going “great” and they got a chance to watch Kentucky’s practice for its upcoming Bahamas trip Aug. 6-13.
Whitney recently cut his list to eight schools: Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, Oregon, Miami, Florida State, Georgetown and SMU.
I give this fan a lot of credit for his effort to recruit Whitney, but no chance that he goes to Illinois
By Brent Wainscott on ©August 05th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
Over the Weekend, the 5th ranked small forward in the 2019 class, Kahlil Whitney, took his visit to Lexington and Adam Zagoria caught up with him to discuss his visit.
In the interview with Zagoria, Whitney said “The visit was great…I watched a couple practices and a couple scrimmages. Went out to eat a couple times. Just being around campus, took a tour of the campus. Met Coach Cal and met the team.”
Whitney would have to team up with Dontaie Allen and Tyrese Maxey in the 2019 class, and when asked about playing with them Whitney said, “From Day One, he told me I could fit in the program, I could play in the program…He (Cal) said he could see me playing right by Tyrese, me and Tyrese. He hasn’t really talked that much about it; I’ve just been enjoying the process here. Just getting a feel of the campus, the players.”
Whitney has already spent some time around the guys on the team currently. Whitney was roommates with Ashton Hagans at the NBA Top 100 camp, and has played against Nick Richards and spent time around Tyler Herro.
Whitney recently made his short list of schools he could attend next year which included Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, Oregon, Miami, Florida State, Georgetown, and SMU. When asked if he was going to take any more visits to other schools Whitney said, “I’m not sure yet. I’m going to talk to my dad when we get back home.” His dad reportedly said his son’s visit was going great.
Whitney may be closing in on a decision very soon, “a couple of weeks” in fact, according to Whitney. All signs look good for Kentucky.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrentW_KSR
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 03rd, 2018 @ 7:00pm
Prepare to have a nice laugh on this beautiful Friday evening.
Earlier this week, John Calipari lost his first commitment as the head coach of Kentucky in 2019 small forward DJ Jeffries.
It was an ugly breakup, as Jeffries’ father came out and said Kentucky was “unprofessional” when they brought up the possibility of a decommitment. He followed it up by saying the top-50 recruit was “bothered” by the Kentucky coaching staff not watching him play in his final AAU game out in Las Vegas.
John Calipari indirectly addressed the decommitment in his press conference yesterday, saying he wants guys that “dream of playing at Kentucky.”
“We’ve been so fortunate and blessed that families have trusted us with their children, but this isn’t for everybody,” he said. “This is really hard, and you have to want this as bad as we want you. I am always looking for guys who have always dreamed of playing at Kentucky.”
Now that he’s back on the market, odds are very, very good Jeffries ends up at Memphis to play for his old AAU coach, Penny Hardaway.
“(Penny being at Memphis) was a factor,” Corey Jeffries said. “It was a big factor. We have a bond with Penny already. It’s not like we have to get re-acquainted with him.”
And now that it looks like Hardaway has “stolen” a Calipari recruit (if you ask Memphis fans, at least), the delusion of the Tigers headed back to glory has unleashed.
Don Wade of The Memphis Daily News wrote an article this afternoon about the inevitable rivalry unfolding between Calipari and Hardaway, where he said Jeffries’ decommitment was step one in Memphis becoming “special on a national level” once more, surpassing Coach Cal and Kentucky in the process.
It starts with the NBA factory narrative.
“Calipari’s long-held trump card was that he was the one college coach that could just about guarantee you go to the NBA and probably as a lottery pick,” Wade said. “That promise perhaps doesn’t carry the same juice it once did. Hardaway starred in the NBA. Miller had success there, too. They were players. And they’re younger.”
Wade then said Coach Cal didn’t know how to get players ready for the NBA.
“They simply have a sales pitch – we were there, we played the NBA game, we know how to make you ready – which Calipari doesn’t. At least not in direct comparison,” he said.
No matter what happens with James Wiseman, Wade believes Penny breaks even with Coach Cal because of Jeffries, alone.
“If Hardaway gets both Jeffries and Wiseman, he wins. If he gets Jeffries and a couple of other elite recruits and Calipari only gets Wiseman, it’s at worst a stalemate,” he said.
I’ll let you in on a little secret… Wiseman is considered a consensus top-three recruit in the class of 2019, while Jeffries is listed as just a four-star on several recruiting sites. They aren’t even in the same stratosphere of talent and potential. One is a contender to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, while the other will be in college for two years, minimum.
Jeffries decommitted on Monday, and Calipari replaced him with a guy of nearly identical status just three days later. A kid that actually wanted to be here.
And if five-star, top-25 small forward Kahlil Whitney commits to Kentucky in the near future, as expected, the Cats will get two for the price of one. Not too shabby.
Oh, but it doesn’t end there. Kentucky’s apparent recruiting catastrophe is just a sign of what’s to come. Memphis is headed back to the promised land under Penny Hardaway, while Calipari will be left searching for leftovers.
“What might be possible in 2019 is something else altogether,” Wade said. “That recruiting class has the potential to again make Memphis special on a national level. And as a sweet bonus, leave John Calipari as college basketball’s most-pissed-off also-ran.”
I’m sure Coach Cal is just shaking in his boots.
The wrath of Penny is (apparently) upon us, BBN. Take shelter.
By TJ Walker on ©August 02nd, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Fresh off an unofficial visit to Kentucky and on their way to a family beach vacaition in Virginia, Dontaie Allen’s father (Tony Thomas) spoke with Kentucky Sports Radio about his son’s commitment to UK, the unofficial visit and what’s next for the Kentuckian.
KSR: Why was now the right time?
Tony Thomas: I believe Kentucky has always been in his heart. It’s been that way for awhile. With the amount of offers he had coming in he wanted to keep his options open while waiting to see what Kentucky was going to do. When they come in so fast like they did it’s really hard to digest things that were coming in, so when he went to UK it’s always been in his heart and it was nice to finally be able to sit down and talk with Coach Cal. We watched the practices on our unofficial visits and it was just a great fit.
KSR: What was Dontaie’s mindset after the first unofficial visit when UK coaches said they’d be watching him during the live period? Did he feel like it was an audition?
Tony Thomas: I believe it was just getting people out there to see Dontaie. His game has grown so much. Since last season and his sophomore year, he just keeps working and keeps getting better and better. It was the matter of being in the right tournament and the right place at the right time with the right people there to see the hard work he’s put in. When Kentucky started to evaluate him he went ahead and poured his heart out and put everything on the table for them.
KSR: When did UK extend the offer? When did he commit? Walk me through the process of how things went down.
Tony Thomas: He came up on the unofficial visit at 4:30 yesterday. There was a ton of Kentucky media there so we stayed in the shadows. We watched the boys go through the practice and once we finished watching how competitive it is and how hard they work and push each other we sat down with Coach Cal and Coach Justus and talked about expectations. They asked if he would be up for the challenge. Once we confirmed that and it would be a great fit that’s when Cal extended the offer. Dontaie pretty much accepted it right at that time.
My reaction was that I was surprised and I’m pretty sure (the staff) were surprised, too. Even going in we didn’t know what to expect. We definitely wanted the chance to meet Coach Cal but overall I’d say it was a successful visit.
KSR: Obviously UK has been recruiting Dontaie most of this summer, but do you think this had anything to do with D.J. Jeffries? It seems like maybe he backed off his pledge because other wings were being recruited.
Tony Thomas: No. I don’t think it had anything to do with Jeffries or anything like that. I don’t think so. Dontaie’s hard work is what is was and that’s why he received an offer. Cal asking if we were up for the challenge wasn’t because of that it was because of the practice we had just watched. They are very competitive.
KSR: What’s next for Dontaie Allen being a Kentucky commit?
Tony Thomas: He’s going to have to embrace everything and get back in the lab and back in the gym. He needs to prepare for his high school season and enjoy the process of being a senior. He’s a hard worker, he’s a gym rat. I have no doubt that he will be ready coming in summer of next year to be ready to get into UK and compete.
KSR: Will he turn into a recruiter? Any names to keep an eye on in 2019?
Tony Thomas: At this point we’re just getting a feel for everything. It’s surreal. We’re letting things settle down at this point and time.
By TJ Walker on ©August 02nd, 2018 @ 5:00pm
Dontaie Allen decided to skip the offer speculation, pass go (and hopefully not collect $200 because of NCAA repercussions) and commit directly to Kentucky on Thursday. Allen becomes UK’s second commitment in the class of 2019 after UK lost D.J. Jeffries earlier this week.
Let’s breakdown what his commitment means to Kentucky.
The Basics: Allen is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound scoring wing from Pendleton County High School (Falmouth, Ky.). He’s ranked No. 47 in the Rivals150 and made one of the bigger jumps during the summer. In July Allen blew up after a wild opening weekend of the live period. Coaches from all over the country flocked to Atlanta to watch him play and before committing to Kentucky he acquired offers Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Xavier, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and a handful of other schools.
Why Now: Surprisingly, today’s news had nothing to do with D.J. Jeffries. UK was likely to offer Allen today regardless if Jeffries remained committed, but Jeffries caught wind of UK’s intentions with Allen and five-star wing target Kahlil Whitney and backed off his pledge. What was a surprise was Allen committing today. Not even UK’s staff thought it would happen, per Allen’s father. Allen committed today because he wanted to be a Wildcat and there was no reason to mess around with other schools. He grew up a Kentucky fan and it’s where he wanted to go to college and play basketball. Now Kentucky can focus on other targets to try and help Allen have a better team for the future.
His Game: Dontaie Allen is an electric scorer that is as comfortable shooting from outside as he is putting it on the floor and getting to the rim. I have not watched much of Allen in person, but reviewing tapes and films, it’s clear that offensively he will be ready to come into Lexington and make an impact. But that’s not to say that Allen’s defense is lacking. He’s a sound defender that can guard multiple positions. Right now he’s better offensively than he is defensively, but that speaks more to his offensive game. Allen will need to become a bit stronger when finishing but there is a lot to like from the versatile wing. As of right now he reminds me of a quicker and longer Darius Miller.
What’s Next: Allen’s family is going on a vacation and once they return Allen plans on getting back to work. He has high expectations for his senior season and is prepared to have the “UK commit” target on his back when playing across the state. It was probably a smart move to commit before his senior season so UK fans can follow him all year. Allen’s dad didn’t give away any secrets about if Allen will turn into a recruiter for UK, but I would expect him to be working on other targets to join him in 2019.
By Nick Roush on ©August 02nd, 2018 @ 2:30pm
One day after unofficially visiting UK’s campus, Dontaie Allen announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky. The Pendleton County product is UK’s first in-state basketball commit since the 2013 recruiting class featured Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins.
Allen was once just considered a shooter, but the 6’5″ wing showed much more versatility in his game during the summer AAU season. If you don’t want to hear about Allen’s game from his AAU coach, enjoy the following highlights before he rocks Kentucky blue.
From this weekend in Louisville:
A #TBT to his first dunk.
Kentuckian Dontaie Allen has committed to Kentucky after unofficially visiting Lexington the last two days. I guess that answers the question about if John Calipari and the Cats would offer Allen.
Allen becomes UK’s second commitment in the class of 2019, joining five-star guard Tyrese Maxey. Allen is ranked No. 47 in the Rivals150, which is one spot behind former UK commit D.J. Jeffries, and that ranking will only likely continue to rise after Allen’s summer.
Allen is a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing player that plays for Pendleton County in Falmouth, Kentucky.
Well, UK didn’t have to wait long to replace Jeffries and it appears they’re getting a better offensive player who grew up a Kentucky fan. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Allen backing off his pledge.
More coming to KSR soon.
I ROCK KENTUCKY BLUE ? pic.twitter.com/8VMwTbkwkz
— Dontaie A11en (@dontaieallen11) August 2, 2018
UK unofficially welcomed Allen into the family.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 2, 2018
By Nick Roush on ©August 02nd, 2018 @ 10:55am
John Calipari didn’t want to talk about recruiting at yesterday’s pre-Bahamas news conference, but Coach Cal could not contain his thoughts just a few days after he received a decommittment for the first time at UK.
On Monday D.J. Jeffries reopened his recruitment. The following day, the small forward’s father completed interviews with multiple Memphis media outlets. In one instance he called the Kentucky coaching staff “unprofessional.” In another, Corey Jeffries complained about the Cats’ absence in his son’s final AAU game.
John Calipari tends to stay away from recruiting players with vocal parents. More importantly, he only recruits players who want to be at Kentucky.
“We’ve been so fortunate and blessed that families have trusted us with their children, but this isn’t for everybody. This is really hard, and you have to want this as bad as we want you. I am always looking for guys who have always dreamed of playing at Kentucky.”
Calipari also isn’t the type of guy to promise anyone playing time.
“You have to have a great faith in your own ability and confidence that you’re not – like I don’t promise anybody that they’ll start and play. Like, how much you’re going to shoot the ball. I just don’t do it with anybody, which some kids need that and that’s OK. I mean, you just wouldn’t be here. It’s the way we recruit. I’ve recruited the same way everywhere I’ve been. I think it’s been pretty good overall.”
Kentucky will move on without Jeffries. Coach Cal doesn’t begrudge any player who decides UK isn’t the best place for them.
“I don’t get mad at anybody. You want to go somewhere else? I’m happy for you. Go.”
Hello, folks. It’s a glorious day when you get to watch college basketball and even though the football team hasn’t started its practices the basketball team is prepping for the Bahamas and have been practicing for a few days.
Wednesday Kentucky allowed nearly two dozen media members to check out the Cats before the Bahamas. UK is particular about what exactly we can post, but allow me to layout the format.
I’m going to post the players names below and keep a running blog of things that standout as they happen (although I can’t post this until practice is completed). So, each player is being discussed on their own timeline. That may come off as confusing but here’s an example: The first sentence about Quade Green is the first thing I noticed about Green. I may post three things about Herro before posting about Green, but each player’s timeline is unique.
Below that I will have positive team notes and negative team notes. These will just be overall impressions from this single practice. I wouldn’t get too excited or disappointed because of the sample size, but they’re worth posting.
And lastly I will have a “hmmmm” category. This will be random thoughts that I’m not sure where else to put.
(numbers are their jersey numbers):
0/ Quade Green:
- Seems like his release is quicker this year. One moment you think he’s going to get into the paint and then he pulls up and shoots. It comes out of nowhere.
- He’s moving much better without the ball. Far too often last year he’d just chill on the perimeter. This year he’s cutting and yelling at other guys to keep moving.
- He’s really getting into the younger guy’s faces defensively. Hagans will try to bully him a bit and use his speed, but Quickley is having a tough time.
2/ Ashton Hagans:
- Really bothering Immanuel Quickley guarding him in individual drills.
- It’s laughable thinking Ashton should be heading into his senior year of high school. Looks so smooth in transition.
- He’s been one of the most impressive players today. It hasn’t been one specific thing that has been great, but he’s doing a little bit of everything. He’s been great at getting into the paint and dishing.
- He’s been good today but Calipari stopping and critiquing him more than other players. He may be the Karl-Anthony Towns type that gets criticized often because Cal knows how great he can be.
- No other way around it- Hagans has been the best guard today. Green has been good but Hagans has impressed me.
3/ Keldon Johnson:
- He has struggled a bit guarding guards, which has surprised me. It may speak to the speed of the guards but I’ve always considered Keldon a versatile defender.
- We’ve heard so much about Johnson all summer but it’s been a quiet afternoon for the freshman. He hasn’t been bad or made many mistakes, but there’s just haven’t been too many “wow” plays.
- Fans will love Johnson’s effort on rebounds. He will fly towards the ball if he has the read but if he doesn’t all he’s worried about is getting a body on a defender and getting him out of the way. It’s smart basketball.
4/ Sophomore Nick Richards:
- Sophomore Nick Richards gets things started posting up Travis and scoring just above the block, showing his touch and some confidence.
- Oh man, as soon as I type that he airballs a fade away from five feet.
- Doing a good job blocking shots today. He’s certainly hunting them, which is getting him out of position at times but his timing has been great when actually going up for the ball.
- As practice has continued Cal has gotten on sophomore Nick Richards for thinking too much. That seemed to be his problem last season.
5/ Immanuel Quickley:
- Looks a little frustrated being guarded by Hagans but he can at times get a step on him. When Hagans or other defenders plays off Quickley isn’t hesitating shooting from deep.
- Uh oh. First person to really get in trouble. He’s being a little careless with the ball and Quade is having some success defending him.
- I have never seen a basketball player wear shorter shorts. Not even in pictures from the 1930s.
12/ Brad Calipari:
- He has been draining threes in these scrimmages. Contested, fading away and with his feet not set. It’s a bad year for walk-ons with how deep UK is, but Brad has looked improved.
13/ Jemarl Baker: OUT. Calipari said he’s missed four or five practices because of swelling in his knee.
14/ Tyler Herro:
- There isn’t a spot on the floor where he looks uncomfortable. God help me making this comparison: (for a few reasons- 1. It’s comparing a white guy to a white guy. 2. I don’t like the kid I’m comparing him to). He reminds me a little of Grayson Allen. His shooting ability will have defenders overplaying him, but he’s athletic, so he can get them off-balanced and draw fouls. He’s a smart player, but you won’t see him throwing baby temper tantrums and tripping everyone.
- First guy to run over to teammates when they fall or slip.
22/ Reid Travis:
- They’re not being shy about allowing him to step out and shoot threes.
- Travis doing the same things he did throughout his career at Stanford. He’s a bull. He’s not the most accurate scorer inside but his misses will likely be rebounded and put back in.
- He does such a good job drawing fouls. They’re not calling them often but he’s getting hacked virtually every trip down the floor.
23/ E.J. Montgomery:
- Montgomery looks a good deal taller than P.J. and Reid. Second tallest and longest player on the team.
- I’m impressed with his shot. All we heard in the spring and summer is how versatile he is and that seems to be true early in this practice.
- Folks, Montgomery is going to hit a lot of 15-21 footers.
25/ P.J. Washington:
- In five-on-five scrimmages he’s really trying to muscle Travis. From a physicality standpoint at times it’s like watching Julius Randle play Julius Randle. Probably a ton of fouls but so much muscle. At one point Travis fell to the floor because of a Washington shoulder.
Positive Team Notes:
- I’ve really been impressed with UK’s shooting. This team just isn’t missing many shots. The guards and wings are hitting from deep and the bigs are being able to extend the floor.
- It’s going to be so difficult to guard this team. So many players can get inside and that’s leading to other guys having wide-open shots when they collapse. Of course UK is scrimmaging man-to-man defense and that probably won’t be the case often. I expect UK to see plenty of zone this season.
- I think this is a positive but HOLY SMOKES this practice is physical. Most physical UK practice I’ve ever seen and I’m typing this about 30 minutes into the thing.
- Team appears to be in solid shape. This has been a physical and up-and-down practice but there hasn’t been much huffing and puffing. I actually haven’t notice any player looking dead tired.
- UK ending practice with free throws. Cal likes to make sure his guys are nice and tired. I’m keeping my eyes on P.J. and Reid and they’re making nearly all of them. SGA getting in P.J.’s ear.
Negative Team Notes:
- This is an August practice and at times it shows. I’ve seen several open practices over the last seven years and this one at times looks more chaotic than any I’ve seen. Calipari seems to be asking more out of his guys, but that’s tough on the freshmen. Sometimes he slow things down to teach the freshmen and the older guys look a little disinterested. It’s not that huge of a deal but there’s a clear learning curve and it’s a great thing they’re getting this extra time to figure it out.
- This team will be able to guard elite guards and elite bigs will be swallowed up by this frontcourt, but I’m curious outside of Johnson who will be able to guard elite wings. Johnson hasn’t be phenomenal defensively (although it’s just one practice), but outside of Johnson I’m not sure where Cal will turn if a team has two great wings or Johnson gets in foul trouble.
- P.J. Washington wearing light pink shoes.
- UK running Quade Green, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, P.J. Washington and E.J. Montgomery as the first five. I doubt that’s UK’s starting lineup, but it’s worth noting.
- SGA and Kevin Knox are in the gym just taking in practice. A few times Calipari has stopped practice to just shout something at those two. Just imagine those two still in UK jerseys this season after what they did in the summer league.
- Shai looks like he wants to join the practice. Knox is chilling at the table, periodically getting lost in his phone while SGA is on the sideline and shooting on the empty basket when action goes to the other end of the floor.
- There’s been nearly a dozen times 45 minutes into practice where the teams have huddled around Cal or an assistant to talk strategy. Not sure I remember them ever doing that or at least this frequently. They’re trying to keep the opponents on their toes in these scrimmages and obviously a priority is being put on coaching.
- I just noticed everything on/around UK’s practice court still has the old UK logo where the K isn’t changed. I wonder when they will change that.
- After watching the latest season of Last Chance U this seemed relevant- when there’s a break in the action and some of the players split up, all the assistant coaches are active and chat with the players. When Calipari stops the action himself to teach/lecture you will not hear a peep from the assistants.
- UK doing a drill where bigs have to guard guards in one-on-one penetration and guards also guard bigs. With UK usually switching every screen this is a smart drill. Last year’s group was NOT great at guarding screens.
- SGA cutting it up with current players as some sit out during drills. Knox just walked over.
Overall Thoughts: I may be more confused about UK’s rotation after seeing this practice than before it started. So many players will be able to help this team but there are only a few that stood out from the rest.
Offensively I think this team has all the tools to be great. During the scrimmages they didn’t shoot a plethora of threes but when they took outside shots they were hitting at a solid clip. But this team’s bread and butter will be inside and offensive rebounds. It’s going to take a special frontcourt to keep these guys off the glass. Even the guards have a knack for flying towards the rim.
Defensively this team will smoother inferior opponents. Perimeter defense wasn’t spectacular outside of Ashton Hagans and as I mentioned earlier I’m somewhat concerned who else besides Keldon Johnson will be able to guard elite wings. Maybe Hagans? Defensively it’s going to be tough to score in the paint on this group. If I were playing against them tomorrow I’d tell my offense to be patient, work deep into the shot clock and spread the ball around. Cal spent a great deal of time working on defensive rotations when the ball is passed.
It appears to be another special group. Everyone looked to be in good spirits. No one talked back or pouted during practice. Everyone seemed to be eager to learn and willing to receive feedback. Even though there are some returning players it’s still a young group all things considered and all these guys were “the” guy on their previous teams. Every year we don’t make a big enough deal about how good Cal is at getting these guys to mesh.
Let’s get things started in the Bahamas.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 01st, 2018 @ 10:50pm
2019 prospect and Pendleton County star Dontaie Allen has quickly become a fan favorite for the Big Blue Nation. After a dominant junior season and impressive summer on the AAU circuit, the 6-foot-7 small forward shot all the way up from unranked to No. 47 in the Rivals.com player rankings.
The consensus four-star averaged 31.8 points (nearly 40-percent from three) and 11.4 rebounds per contest for Pendleton County last year, where offers from Florida, Oklahoma, Louisville, West Virginia, Auburn, and Virginia Tech, among others, rushed in soon after. He has earned nine offers over the last four weeks alone.
And that list could grow very, very soon.
Currently on an unofficial visit to Kentucky, there are growing whispers that this is the trip Kentucky head coach John Calipari finally extends an offer to the in-state talent. With DJ Jeffries decommitting from the school yesterday afternoon, Allen shoots up the priority list and it only makes more sense for Coach Cal to make it happen now.
This afternoon, KSR got the chance to talk with Allen’s AAU coach and director of the M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs, Steve Quattrocchi. During the discussion, we discussed the prized prospect’s game, his recruitment, where Kentucky stands, and the DJ Jeffries debacle.
When asked about Allen’s skill set as a whole and how he has developed over the years, Quattrocchi said nothing fazes him, regardless of the competition.
“He’s extremely skilled, tough, can score on just about anybody. A lot of kids will struggle with athleticism, but nothing seems to faze him, whether they try to put someone quicker on him to guard him, he can shoot over the top of them. If they try to put someone bigger on him, he can drive past or create his offense off the bounce,” he said.
Now, he’s much more of a complete player with the ability to score anywhere on the floor.
“Really when he was younger he didn’t shoot the ball well, he was a streaky shooter, especially off the bounce,” Quattrocchi said. “He could catch and shoot, He has put in endless hours of gym work over the years. It’s one of those situations where if he misses now, I’m surprised. He probably shot mid-to-high 40-percent from three in July. He was primarily a driver before, but now he’s considered a shooter. He can still create his offense by getting to the rim too. He’s become much more of a complete player over the years.”
One high-major college assistant coach told Quattrocchi the in-state star has similar tools to one of the greatest shooters in NBA history.
“When he’s at the next level he’ll be able to come off screens, catch and shoot, catch and drive, that type of stuff. I had one high-major assistant coach tell me he can be the next Kyle Korver, and I can see that. He’s about the same size, can get his shot off on anybody,” he said.
Some analysts say Allen struggles on the defensive side of the ball and his athleticism falls flat.
“Defensively, he uses his basketball IQ to guard people. He’s got really good length,” he said. “The biggest thing people says is he’s not a good athlete, but it’s not like he’s unathletic. He knows with that length and that wingspan, he moves his feet well laterally, he can guard the elite athlete types.”
As far as Allen’s recruitment goes, the plan is to get it over with before his senior season.
“He told me this past weekend that the plan is to be committed and signed before the high school season starts, fall signing period,” Quattrocchi said. “He’s happy to have a senior year where he’s not worried about his recruitment.”
Even though he’s ready to get the process over with, Allen is still expected to take all of his official visits.
“He has unofficially visited several schools that have offered him, and he’s going to take his official visits. He’s really trying to figure out where he wants to play his college ball.”
And what schools, in particular, are recruiting him the hardest?
“Besides Kentucky today, he’s been to Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky, Xavier, and Vanderbilt. He’s going to visit Louisville unofficially too.”
With Jeffries likely headed to Memphis, Quattrocchi believes Kentucky would end up with the better of two if Allen eventually decided on the Cats.
“I’ll be honest with you, I think Dontaie is better than him anyway,” he said. “That might upset some people, I don’t know, but he’s a top-50 talent, if not better right now. And he’s going to keep getting better. His offensive game is more suited to college than being just a bully, which I think is a lot of what the Jeffries kid does. As far as being an isolation scorer, you’re not going to find much better than Dontaie, in my opinion anyway. Wherever he goes, he’s going to be a contributor however long he stays there.”
Whoever gets Allen will be getting a kid with great character and no baggage, Quattrocchi says.
“He really is a humble kid, I really haven’t ever had a negative interaction with him or anyone around him. You never have to worry about him doing anything he’s not supposed to be doing, the kid just wants to play basketball. That’s paying off for him now.”
On his current visit to Kentucky, Allen’s coach says the family is not expecting an offer or anything in particular, per se. They just want to meet with John Calipari and talk with a guy that “knows what he’s doing.” Allen’s mother and father want their son to make the decision that will make him the happiest, keeping themselves out of the equation.
“His dad has been pretty vocal that they are not expecting anything in particular on this visit, just wanted a face-to-face with John Calipari for the first time, which will be good,” Quattrocchi said. “He is a Kentucky fan, and I’m sure that’s part of it. His dad said the other day that Calipari knows what he’s doing, so let’s let Calipari do what he’s going to do. That’s the right attitude to have. You’re not going to deal with any of that with his family, his dad and mom, they get it.
If a Kentucky offer does come? It may be hard telling his “dream school” no…
“I don’t know if a commitment would come immediately… I do know that he, his dad, and his mom want to get through the process and take the visits and make sure wherever they end up is the right spot for him. But as a Kentucky fan, you get that offer you covet, there’s no telling. He’s still a 17-year-old, and an offer from his dream school would mean a lot too. Never say never.”
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