By LARRY VAUGHT
Dontaie Allen is a three-sport standout at Pendleton County High School. Or at least that is the way coach Keaton Belcher sees it.
“He is the ultimate gym rat,” said Belcher. “He is at school at 6:30 every morning before school starts getting in extra work. He’s there every day except during the dead period. That’s why to me, he plays three sports — basketball in the fall, basketball in the winter and basketball in the spring.”
The work has paid off, too. The 6-6 Allen led the state in scoring as a junior with 1,019 points (the 15th best single season scoring mark in state history) while helping Pendleton County to a 24-8 record and district championship. He averaged 31.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and shot 59 percent overall from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range.
The 6-6 guard will take an unofficial visit to Kentucky this weekend. He originally planned to play pick-up games with the current players but a recent thigh injury will prevent that.
“Unless he’s 100 percent, there’s just no sense risking making the injury worse,” Belcher said Thursday while he was with his team at a camp at Western Kentucky University.
He has scholarship offers Purdue, Virginia Tech, Western Kentucky, Xavier, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, Morehead, IUPUI, Nevada, Northern Kentucky, West Virginia and Winthrop with interest from Louisville, Cincinnati, Providence and Tennessee along with Kentucky.
“If you watch him play, he is a 6-6 guard with so much potential,” Belcher said. “High major schools see he has not fully grown into what he can be. His game is good now, but it can develop more. His one goal is to play professional basketball.
“He grew up a Kentucky fan. That’s his dream school. It’s the school he always rooted for and the interest from Kentucky has really created a big buzz around here because there are so many UK fans in Pendleton County.”
Allen has already scored 2,967 points and grabbed 1,044 rebounds at Pendleton. He’s on pace to become the state’s second all-time leading scorer behind only King Kelly Coleman.
“His best attribute is his versatility. He shoots a high percentage from 3. He has a good midrange game. He can get to the basket,” Belcher said. “He’s phenomenal at getting to the foul line and shooting free throws. He has a knack for going strong to the basket and I’ve never seen him back down from a challenge.”
He led the state in free throw attempts with 298 last season and made 239 — an 80.2 percent mark.
“He’s a solid defensive player, too. He’s a great rebounder. There’s just not much he can’t do,” the Pendleton coach said. “He is phenomenal socially, academically and athletically. He’s the total package. I have never heard him say a bad word about anybody. It’s never myself or I with him. It’s always us or we.
“He is very humble and is just a great teammate. He’s just a really good kid and I’ve been blessed to coach him. He finishes first in sprints every day. You never have to tell him to pick it up. He’s easy to coach.”
Belcher doesn’t think Allen is in any rush to make a college choice. He will likely wait until after the July recruiting/evaluation period and then decide it he wants to commit early or wait until after his senior season to make his college choice.
“He doesn’t really have a favorite school right now,” Belcher said. “Everything is still up in the air. He just wants to go to the school that puts him in the best position to play professional basketball.”
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