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.