Junior to Watch: Shagari Alleyne

Good news for college basketball fans. A blue chip center in high school that isn't considering the NBA directly out of high school. It's 7-3 Shagari Alleyne from Manhattan (NY) Rice.

"I'm not going to the NBA out of high school," said Alleyne, in a matter-of-fact tone. "I want to spend three, maybe four years on the college level."

The lanky giant has really started to improve his footwork and coordination since he's stopped growing. A testament to his recent improvement were the impressive stats in the state tournament. According to our sources in New York -- Alleyne really stepped up his game.

"I feel really good about the way that I played lately," he said. "On the average, I put up about 24 or 25 points per game. And also I grabbed around 12 rebounds and blocked four or five shots," referring to his final half-dozen games of the season.

"My footwork has been the biggest improvement of late."

Some notable college coaches were in the stands to witness Alleyne's performances lately. And among those most noticeable to the 255-pound center were Seton Hall, Rutgers, Miami and yeah -- you guessed it -- North Carolina.

"I saw Freddie Quartlebaum up there," he noted. And Alleyne maintains that the Tar Heels are still among his favorites.

"It's a pretty good school. It's always been one of the schools that I've wanted to go to. If they offer me the right situation -- I'll go there."

Alleyne still wishes to keep his "wide open" status on the recruiting front, however, and wasn't sure as to who he'd be playing his spring and summer basketball with, but the New York Gauchos were the first possibility that rolled off his tongue.

"Well, I'll be at the Tournament of Champions down in North Carolina, and Chris Taft and Sebastian Telfair will be playing with the Gauchos -- so that may end being my choice."

Alleyne is a true center that changes the game the moment he steps on the court. The long-armed center stands at a towering 7-foot-3 and plays in the paint with his back to the basket. He's always altering and blocking shots on the interior and has really started to improve his touch on short shots within 12 feet of the basket. He's able to dunk without jumping at all and when used in the right way -- he can be a tremendous asset on the hardwood.

Areas of improvement for Alleyne are lateral mobility, strength and honing his post moves.

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