Peyton Allen is determined to make himself a complete basketball player. The Chatham Glenwood sophomore is in top shape after working with a personal trainer.
"My personal trainer and I work on agility, speed, shooting, everything. It's improved my game a lot. I'm getting stronger and faster. It's helped a lot."
Always an excellent outside marksman, Allen wants to add diversity to his game, including more drives to the basket. He feels he can compete better with high major players now.
"Definitely. I am more mature and can handle situations better now. And each year I'm getting stronger. I can feel it in my body when I drive into the lane."
The 6'-4", 190 pounder had glimpses of stardom as a freshman, but he became much more consistent this past winter.
"It was my sophomore year, and I put up some good numbers and had a great season. Hopefully I can continue to do that. I averaged 18.5 points a game, 17 in the conference."
He helped lead the Titans to an outstanding season.
"We had a great team. We were 27-5. We lost in the regionals, but overall we were happy with the season. We lost five seniors, but we still have some talented players coming back. We'll be a little less experienced, but I think we'll have a good season next year."
Allen is also excited about his 16 and Under Southwest Jets team.
"We're real good. We won the first tournament here in Merrillville. We beat D-Rose and Mac Irvin Fire. We've got great chemistry so far. We've only played together three or four weeks, but we are playing good together."
The team lost its first game in the Spring Showdown in Merrillville last Friday, but several players were home attending their proms. They won easily Saturday morning as Allen lit it up from three, hitting 8 bombs including several from NBA range. He earned a scholarship offer from Iowa based on that performance.
He is also continuing to hear from new teams.
"Some recent ones include Auburn, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State."
A frequent visitor to Illinois games, Allen is eager to meet new coach John Groce.
"I have not met the new Illinois coaches yet. My AAU coach was talking to them, and he said they wanted me to come down any time.
"I've heard that he's a pretty good coach. I know he recruited Evan Turner, Greg Oden, Mike Conley and all those, so he's got some recruiting skills to get those big-time players at Ohio State."
He and his dad purchased NCAA tickets for a game in St. Louis that featured Groce's Ohio team. He feels he could thrive in that system.
"I was at the Sweet 16 game when they played North Carolina. Their guards looked good. They had some smart shooting guards who could play good basketball."
Allen is a throwback player who would be a superstar 20-30 years ago. Whether he has the lateral quickness to compete against highly athletic guards remains to be seen, but he is highly motivated to achieve success.