ASR caught up with San Diego State signee Dakarai Allen to hear what he's been up to, what he's working on and what we can expect from him next season.
Agustin Gonzalez: What are you up to nowadays? How's everything been since the end of basketball season?
Dakarai Allen: It's been cool. I've just really been working out, trying to get down to San Diego and be as prepared as I can be.
AG: When are you getting down to San Diego State this summer?
DA: I'll leave here sometime before July 8, because that's the day summer school starts. I want to be settled in before that starts. I'm very excited and I just want to get out of Sacramento and start fresh. I'm looking forward to a new start and beginning from the bottom of the totem pole and working my way up.
AG: I remember you telling me that you're keeping a daily countdown?
DA: Yeah (laughs). I think I'm in the 30's now.
AG: What are you most looking forward to when you do finally come down here to San Diego State?
DA: I'm just looking forward to getting better. I feel like my coaches and the facilities we have down there are really going to elevate my game. Also just meeting new people, that's one of the biggest things I'm looking forward to.
AG: Looking back on your senior season, I'm sure it didn't end the way you wanted it to with that loss to Aaron Gordon and Archbishop Mitty in the semifinals of the CIF State Playoffs. In a few years when you look back on the season and your high school career in general, how will you remember it?
DA: I'm going to remember it as a fun time. I really had a great time playing high school basketball. Basketball took me a lot of places and I've met a lot of people from across the country. I'm just really glad that I got the opportunity to play high school basketball and that's how I look back at it. I got a lot of accomplishments and I'm going to look back at some of the things I could've done better as fuel in the future and make sure some of those situations never happen again.
AG: How's D'Erryl doing? What's it like knowing you'll be playing with one of your best friends all through college?
DA: He's doing good, he's getting his ankle back into shape before we get back down to San Diego. I feel like we're going to have an advantage over normal freshmen going into college not knowing anyone and being completely new. I'm glad I've got somebody to go through it with.
AG: I'm sure by now your guys' chemistry on the court is off the charts (laughs), like he knows where you're going to be before you're even there.
DA: Yeah, we read each other pretty well and we know what each other's going to do before it even happens. It's like we look in each other's eyes and we just know what's going to happen next.
AG: You have a reputation of being one of the best -- if not the best -- perimeter defenders in the 2013 class. How much pride do you take in your defense and how did you develop those defensive skills?
DA: It's more of a mentality. I don't like when my man scores and that's something I think about during the game. When my man scores I really get mad at myself and feel like I'm not doing my job out there. I like to use my defense to create offense, that's one of my main things.
AG: Speaking of offense, you made some big strides in your offensive game your senior year and seemed to be more confident and assertive. Talk about that and what do you feel like you improved on the most offensively?
DA: I feel like the thing I improved on the most was being assertive and looking for my shot more. My coaches really helped me out with that; Tony Bland really told me I needed to start shooting more and Coach Dutcher said I was being too passive when he saw me. I just want to be really aggressive and show that aspect of my game.
AG: How would you describe your playing style? Is there any player in particular you think you resemble, or want to model your game after?
DA: I think I play more like Kawhi Leonard. You see what he does on the defensive end and on the offensive end and I feel like I can bring that into my game. I really like watching him play and when I leave San Diego State, I want to be exactly like Kawhi.
AG: How do you feel about making the transition from high school to big-time Div. I college basketball?
DA: I don't really know what to expect. A lot of people have told me a lot of different things. Some people have told me that if you miss a defensive rotation you're going to get cussed out or that the playing style is really faster than high school. So I just really want to get down there and get used to it and contribute to the team winning any way I can.
AG: Is there anything you really want to work on basketball-wise before you come down here?
DA: Yeah, I've really been working on my jump shot. That's one of the biggest things I want to have in my arsenal before I want to get down there. Watching the (SDSU) offense, we shoot a lot of three's but they come off drives and kick-outs so I want to be a guy that can knock that open shot down.
AG: What have the coaches been telling you about this upcoming season? SDSU is losing some key pieces like Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley but also returns some key guys and is adding a few big-time players too.
DA: Coach Fisher told us that they could've used us last season, and is really excited for us to get down. I just can't wait to get down there and start playing.
AG: Do you feel like you can come in and make a big contribution right away?
DA: Yeah, I feel like if I play how I did in high school I can really do some big things my first year and I just want to have the opportunity to show that.
AG: Last question man, for your new SDSU fans to get a better idea of what kind of person you are off the court, tell us a little something about yourself.
DA: I'm a pretty funny guy and I'm really personable. I'm not a Hollywood guy, you can come up and talk to me because I'm really easy to talk to. I just want to tell the fans that I really like communicating with them.