COMMENTARY: Right move by Kent to keep Allen

SPECULATION HAD BEEN rising for weeks on who new WSU hoops head man Ernie Kent would bring on board as his third and final assistant coach. But when CF.C reported late yesterday that Seattle point guard Tramaine Isabell was fully locked in with the Cougs, I had a sense current assistant Curtis Allen may have just tipped the scales and earned that spot. On Friday, Kent made it official.

A short time ago Washington State issued a release announcing that Allen, who has been on the Cougar sidelines as an assistant since the 2009-10 season, had officially been hired by Coach Ernie Kent.

It was a long time in coming before that.

Yes, Allen knows the campus, he knows the community and he knows the players. Yes, he was the interim coach before Kent was hired and did well to hold things together before Kent's hire. But the area where Allen's experience really comes into play is in recruiting Seattle. Although the SuperSonics are no longer in town, the 206 remains well known for its hoops.


The recruits the Seattle area has produced over the years proves that. And Allen is wired in.

The "new" Coug assistant, a Tacoma, Wash., native who played for Washington from 2000-2004, also grew up in the prestigious Seattle Rotary (AAU) family. And he continues his close ties with that program to this day. Isabell has donned a Rotary jersey since he was in kindergarten.

"Coach Allen and I have spoken for the last couple of years," Seattle Rotary Senior Athletic Director Daryll Hennings said in a recent interview with CF.C. "Whether it be about Tramaine or others players in our program, we've talked.

"I coached Coach Allen when he played for Rotary growing up. I'm pretty good friends with him still and we've kept in close contact over the years."

NBA PLAYERS WHO laced up their sneakers for Rotary include Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Peyton Siva, Tony Wroten -- the list goes on and on. Having Allen's connection with that program and on the west side of the state is invaluable, and it's another reason why retaining him was a smart move by Kent.

"I'm really excited to join Coach Kent's staff," Allen said in the WSU press release. "He's been successful at the highest level and his style of play is very exciting. I look forward to representing Coach Kent and to continue to represent Washington State University, while helping the young men in this program grow as both players and people."

"I feel like it's important to have someone on staff who knows the players, the academic and campus communities and the recent history of the program, and Curtis Allen provides that," Kent said in the release. "I feel like with the experienced coaches I've brought to the staff in Silvey Dominguez and Greg Graham, along with Curtis, we have the opportunity to be very successful here."

With the final on-court staff position filled, Kent and his three assistants will continue working overtime to fill the class of 2014. With Isabell signed and JUCO power Forward Aaron Cheatum giving a verbal commitment earlier this week, the Cougs have three more scholarships available that Kent has said they will fill this signing period. And so they'll travel the country to find the best recruits available and do battle with other programs to land them.

For Kent, though, bringing Allen officially on board was a victory all on in its own.

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