Bryon Allen undoubtedly could have waited until the spring, summer or even next fall to pull the trigger on giving a verbal commitment to one of the countless major conference schools lining up for his services. Admittedly, the Washington D.C. native was not looking to make an early decision.
After an unofficial visit to West Virginia in early January, though, Allen had all the information he needed to make the call. The 6-3, 215-pound combo guard from Oak Hill Academy opted to cast his lot with Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers shortly after the visit.
"It was just the right situation for me," Allen said on Sunday afternoon after his Warriors had easily dispatched of Beckley, W.Va.-based Mountain State Academy at Turner Gymnasium on the campus of Oak Hill. "I wasn't looking to get my recruitment over with and done this early, but it was just a perfect place for me. I didn't really want to go to Florida or someplace like that, and I knew I wanted to go to West Virginia."
Sunday's game against Mountain State offered a glimpse into the future of Mountaineer basketball. Both of WVU's current 2010 commitments – Allen and Mountain State's Noah Cottrill – were on display, as was 2009 signee Deniz Kilicli. With regard to his fellow 2010 commit, the OHA standout is excited about taking the court with Cottrill as West Virginia's backcourt of the future.
"It will be great playing with him," Allen said. "He is a great shooter, and I think that we can help each other and play together. I can get into the lane, and if he's open on the outside, I can drive in and kick it to him. I know he'll knock down the shots."
Allen wears a number of different hats for Steve Smith's undefeated program. Defensively, he has been called upon to slow down both guard positions and even a small forward from time to time. Offensively, the junior is an excellent penetrator with a dependable mid-range jump shot and an uncanny ability to find the open man.
On both ends of the court, he plays with the physicality and toughness that has come to be expected from Smith's teams, a trait which undoubtedly endeared the future Mountaineer to Huggins.
Watch Allen play and its easy to see what drew college recruiters to him. What was it, however, that drew him to Morgantown? Huggins and his up-and-coming program were certainly selling points. So, too, was the academic support, which Allen talked about at length.
"I love that if you are in trouble in school, there are tutors right there and academic support that will get you back on the right academic path that you need to be on," he said. "If you aren't sure what you want to do as far as your specific major or degree, they'll help you find the right program for you by the end of your sophomore year. They love you up there."
All things considered, Allen just could not foresee a scenario in which he found a better fit than the one he believes he has found at WVU. Thus, the verbal pledge some 11 months before the 2010 early-signing period begins.
"I like the way that everything is up at West Virginia," he concluded. "I love the way they do everything. Their fans are so supportive of the players and the team. I think they treat their players well and help them out any way you want, both with basketball and with school."