Most high school freshmen need another year or two of seasoning before being exposed to varsity ball. It is rare when a freshman starts for his high school team, and even more rare when he develops into one of the go-to players.
But Peyton Allen has an outstanding freshman year for Chatham Glenwood, including scoring 34 points in one game.
"I just got it going. I had 14 points first half, and I just kept going after that."
Allen adapted quickly. But the end of the year, age differences didn't matter.
"At the first of the season, I was kind of nervous. But now it's just going for me, and I don't even act like a freshman out there. I just think we're all the same age, and I just keep going."
His good buddy Larry Austin was a starter at Springfield Lanphier, but he had to adapt to a senior-laden team that had minimal desire to include him in their games. Allen's situation was entirely different, and it helped him gain confidence.
"We have a lot of young guys. I fit right in with them, so I pretty much do what I want to do. We have zero seniors."
That bodes well for the future.
"Next year we're gonna just keep getting better. We're gonna win some games next year. This year is basically just building and getting ready for next year."
Allen is also unusual in that he is much bigger than most point guards. He gets his size from his dad, who played JC ball in Idaho.
"I'm 6'-4", and my dad is 6'-5". I hope to be 6'-6" or 6'-7"."
If he keeps growing, he may be more valuable on the wing. But he likes having the ball in his hands and envisions that continuing in college.
"I think I would be a guard in college. Maybe a two, or maybe even a 1. I've been playing point guard most of the time for my high school. But in college probably a one or a two."
Allen described his game.
"I get to the rim and distribute. I can score if nobody picks me up. I like shooting, I like it a lot. I can shoot the three. If they guard me, I can drive the lane. Hopefully next year I can dunk on people."
Like all point guards, Allen is sometimes torn between when to shoot and when to pass. But a height advantage makes things easier for him.
"It really helps being tall, so with little guys on me I can just see right over them. I love picking apart zones."
He hasn't been offered a scholarship by Illinois, but he has been to several games this year and is partial to the state school.
"I've always liked Illinois since I was a kid. I grew up in Illinois. Illinois is a great place, and they've got a great team and great coaching staff. It's really nice."
Allen, who will play with the Illinois Wolves 15 and Under team this summer, is in no hurry to make a college decision.
"I went to a Purdue game, an Iowa game and a Northwestern game. I've got three more years, so there's a lot of time to be thinking about college."