HOOPS RECRUITING: Allen Ready To Choose

It was supposed to be a defensive assignment that he could sleep walk through, that summer league game last year when a whole host of college coaches showed up to watch Adam Allen play in Milton. Allen is long, lean and athletic. His man was 5-10, perhaps 300 pounds, obviously not the prototypical big man playing the post and certainly not a guy that's going to show up a player of Allen's caliber.

(See Adam Allen profile)

For the most part, Allen took the big guy to school but there was one play that the roles were reversed and it's one that the folks who were there that day will never let him forget.

"He [the big guy] gave me a jab step and stepped on my foot," said Allen. "I mean he was really heavy and when he stepped on my foot I fell back on the floor. There I am lying on the floor and this really big guy just takes a step back and nails a three. I couldn't do anything about it except watch and think where did he get that one from? My teammates didn't let me forget that one for a long time."

Usually, it's Adam Allen that makes the move or hits the shot that nobody forgets for a long time. He's a sinewy strong 6-7, 205 wing that's as comfortable at the small forward as he is at the shooting guard. He averaged 20.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for Milton High School last season when he had to play center on a team whose next tallest player was 6-1.

This spring and summer he's playing AAU ball for the Tallahassee Wildcats traveling team where he's surrounded by tall, athletic teammates like A.J. Stewart (Arlington Country Day). That allows him to play the small forward or shooting guard where he's far more comfortable. He's already had five or six games in the 30s. Recently, he also got his invitation to attend the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis.

He's got grades (3.5 GPA), a qualifying ACT score (22) and game which is why most of the nation's big name programs have recruited him but he's narrowed that list down to three and within a week he's going to make a final decision about where he will be playing college basketball.

"It's Florida, Florida State or Alabama," said Allen, whose dad, Randy, scored 1,438 points (12.5 per game) and pulled down 736 rebounds (6.8 per game) in a solid career at FSU during the 1980s. "I'll make a decision within a week. I'm ready to get this over with so I can just concentrate on what I have to do to get better as a basketball player. It's time to choose."

He sees positives in all three of the programs he's considering.

FLORIDA: "Obviously, there are great players, great facilities and Coach (Billy) Donovan is there. He's an awesome coach and Gainesville is an awesome place to spend the next four years. It's not all that far from home and the education you can get is great. There are a lot of positives there and they are the national champions."

FLORIDA STATE: "Obviously, it's where my dad went to school and played basketball and I've also got a lot of friends and family there. It's the closest school to home. They've got new practice facilities and the program's on the turnaround. They're on their way up."

ALABAMA: "Coach (Mark) Gottfried is a real down to earth guy that tells it like it is. I really like him and the way he treats his players. They're always in the NCAA Tournament and they're almost always at the top of the SEC. They're really solid there."

While there are positives at each of the schools in his final three, the deciding factors are going to be (1) which school he's most comfortable with in terms of balancing the academics and basketball; (2) which school offers him the best chance to become the best basketball player; and (3) which school will give him the best foundation for a career one life after basketball begins.

Preparation for life after basketball is very high on his list of musts. He plans to major in communications, sports management or sports medicine, three careers that he feels offer challenges and opportunities for advancement.

"I won't be able to play forever," he said. "I want to go to the school that helps me reach my full potential as a basketball player and the school that best gets me ready for life. That's the one I want to go to."

He says there will be no pressure whatsoever from his dad when he makes his choice. Even though Randy Allen was a big time player for FSU, this is strictly Adam's choice.

"I was asking him last night where he would you go if he were me and making the choice and he told me that it's 100 percent up to me," said Adam. "He said he wants me to go somewhere that's best for me. He just told me I should go to school where I feel happiest, where I'm most comfortable.

"He told me that he went to FSU for all the wrong reasons. It was close to home (Randy is also from Milton) and that's where his parents wanted him to go so he went there. He's always telling me he wishes he had gone to Florida or Kentucky or some place like that instead of going to FSU."

Once he makes his final decision next week, he'll spend the rest of the summer concentrating on shoring up some areas in his game that need some work.

"I've got to get better handling the ball and I know I have to get stronger," he said. "I've got other little things that I can do that will help my overall game get better and that can only get me ready to play college basketball.

"The strength of my game is my shooting. Normally, I'm best when I'm coming off screens but I have to get better at creating my own shot. That's something else that I have to work on this summer."

The pressure of where he's going to school next year will be over within the next few days and that will allow him to spend the rest of the time this summer going down his check list of things to do to improve his game every day when he works out.

"I'm ready to get recruiting over with so I can concentrate on what I have to do to play college basketball," he said. "I'll make my choice and I'll be happy with it. My decision is going to be final."

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