Adam Allen: I'm Going To Be A Florida Gator

After a weekend of quiet contemplation interspersed with several conversations with his parents and plenty of prayer, Adam Allen, the smooth-shooting 6-7 wing forward from Milton concluded that there's only one place that he really fits. "I'm going to be a Florida Gator," said Allen, who joins Nick Calathes and Gary Clark in Florida's basketball recruiting class of 2007.

(Adam Allen profile)

Allen, who averaged 20.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for state runner-up Milton as a junior, plays AAU basketball for the Tallahassee Wildcats. He's an exceptional shooter from the wings and the baseline and he's also an excellent finisher on the fast break. Long and athletic, he had narrowed his choices down to Florida, Florida State and Alabama. Even though his father, Randy Allen, was a star for Florida State in the 1980s, Adam decided that Florida had the entire package that he was looking for.

"I feel that it's the best place that I'm going to mature as a person and be a part of a great basketball program that's won a national championship and be a part of a baseball program that's one of the best in the country, too," said Allen, who is also a standout pitcher. "I put a lot of thought and prayer into it and it was the right choice for me to make."

It was the feedback that he got from Florida baseball coach Pat McMahon that helped to seal the commitment. McMahon and Florida basketball Coach Billy Donovan have already agreed that Allen can play both sports.

"It was baseball that really set Florida apart," said Allen. "I feel the baseball coaches at Florida took a lot of their time to talk to me about what I wanted to do and they made me feel that I was welcome. All the other schools that recruited me, I didn't get a great feel that they wanted to let me play baseball, too. They'd say, 'yeah, yeah, you can play baseball' but I never really felt that they were serious about it. Florida was definitely serious about it."

As a pitcher, Allen throws consistently in the high 80s and he says he's hit 90 on the radar gun a few times. He throws a fast ball, curve, changeup and slider as well as a fork ball that he's been fooling around with.

"I feel comfortable that I have four good pitches that I can throw for strikes anywhere in the count and get people out with," said Allen. "I've got a forkball, too, and if that's working, I'm not afraid to use that, too."

Initially, it was Anthony Grant that recruited Allen for Florida's basketball team, but when Grant became the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth, Larry Shyatt took over. Shyatt's dry sense of humor helped win over Allen and his parents.

"We were taking the tour of the campus and Coach Shyatt was just cracking us up," said Allen. "He's really a funny guy. He was driving us around and he just kept us laughing the whole time."

Shyatt was critical in the final decision as was Donovan, who impressed Allen and his family by not making many promises.

"I got a lot of promises about that I'd play a lot and maybe start at other schools, but Coach Donovan was straight up the whole time," said Allen. "He told me that there are no guarantees here and nobody is given anything at Florida, that you have to earn everything you get.

"He told me that what I do all depends on how hard I'm willing to work and how much I'm willing to sacrifice for the team. All these other coaches were promising stuff but you can't trust that. Coach Donovan was just straight forward. There's risk any time you make a decision like this but with Florida, the risk is less than anywhere else."

Another part of the deciding equation was joining Calathes in Florida's recruiting class. Allen has not had the chance to play with Calathes, who plays for Nike Team Florida in AAU ball and for Lake Howell High School in Orlando, but he's seen enough of the 6-5 point guard to know that if he gets in scoring position, Calathes will get him the ball.

"He's a great player and I feel like playing with him would be a lot of fun. He gets the ball wherever you are on the court if you're in a position to score," said Allen. "He's very unselfish. I like the way he plays and I think he's the kind of player that can make everybody around him better."

Florida's other commitment for the class of 2007, Gary Clark, plays with Allen on the Tallahassee Wildcats. They are friends that have also gone head to head in the high school circuit.

"His team actually beat us for the state championship," said Allen. "Even though he didn't have a great game, he really helped his team win. He's another great guy to play with."

Allen has a 3.5 grade point average and he's fully qualified with a 22 on the ACT. He plans to major in communications, sports management or sports medicine at the University of Florida.

"It's just a great school atmosphere in Gainesville," he said. "I like that it's a small college town where everything revolves around the University of Florida. The academics are first rate and the campus is just beautiful. I loved everything about the University of Florida and I really love the coaching staff they have for both basketball and baseball. The whole staff is just wonderful and I feel that this is the best place for me to mature and develop athletically, academically and as a person."

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