football

Allen isnt swayed by Pac-12s clout

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SANDIEGO--TheconclusionoftheTorreyPinesHolidayClassicbroughtfewsurprises,althoughsomeunder-the-radarunderclassmenemergedasintriguingprospects,whileonecommittedrecruitshowedpolishedskills.
Diamondoutoftherough
DakaraiAllenremembersthelasttimehewasintheTorreyPinesHighSchoolgymnasium.Itwas12monthsago,whentheSacramento(Calif.)Sheldonprospecthadonlyahandfulofmid-majoroffersandpossessedatimidoffensivegamewithapersonalitytomatch.
"Isaw(SanDiegoState)coach(Steve)FisherinthestandswatchingBrandonRandolph,"Allensaidofthe2011SanDiegoweekend."IknewIhadtogethisattentionsomehow."
Ayearlater,Allenwasbackinthatsamegym.OnlythistimehehadSDSUheadcoachSteveFisher'sfullattention--mostlybecausetherecentAztecssigneehadjustputonaclinicandwasholdingaMostValuablePlayerplaqueandaTorreyPinesHolidayClassicchampionshiptrophyinhisarms.
Thescenewasrareformanyreasons.Forone,itwastheculminationofa12-monthblossoming.Foranother,itwasbecauseofhowAllenendedupthere.
Thefour-star'srecruitmenthasbeenwelldocumentedthroughoutthepastfewmonths.AfterhelandedanSDSUoffer,nobigPac-12schoolcamearoundtogethimuntilAugust,whenUCLAfinallyextendedascholarship.ManythoughttheBruinsandtheirhigh-majorlurewouldstealhimfromSDSU,butAllendidsomethingthatmostrecruitsfindunthinkable:
HechoseaBigWest-boundprogramoveracollegebasketballblueblood.
"SanDiegoStatecanplayanybodytheywant,somid-major,it'snotthatbigofadealanymore,"Allensaid."SanDiegoStateisatop25schoolrightnow,soitjustshowsyoudon'talwayshavetobehighmajortobesuccessful."
Allenishardlyatrailblazer,becausedozensoftop100recruitshavespurnedthePac-12forMountainWestprogramsinthelastfewyears.Butwatchingscouts,fans,highschoolcoachesandcollegecoacheswithmouthsagape,allwonderingoutloud,"HowdidthePac-12letthisrecruitgetaway?"stillwasasighttoseeSaturdaynight.
"(Otherrecruits)stillbelieveit'saboutbeingPac-12,"Allensaid."They'retalkingtomeabouthowwe'regoingtotheBigWestandstuff,butthatdoesn'tmatter."
WhatmatteredtoAllen,whodropped17ormorepointsinthreeoutofhisfourgamesovertheweekend,wereloyalty,familiarityandchemistry--notconference.
"Nooffense,butIlikethecoachingstaffatSanDiegoStatewaybetter(thanUCLA),"Allensaid."(Assistantcoach)TonyBlandislikeabrothertome.Sothatwasoneofthethingsthatreally,reallydrovemetoSanDiegoState."
Breakoutweekend
Lastyear,itwasAllenwhocaughttheeyesofscoutsandcollegecoaches.Thisyear,anotherjuniorwing,who'slongandathleticandplaysgooddefense,couldfindhimselfonasimilarpath.
Tacoma(Wash.)Lincoln2014guardAr'MondDavisdrewSanDiegoStateandUCLAcoachestohisgames,andheshowcasedaniceframewithagreatjumpshotthatshouldhavehimsettoclimbuprecruitingboards.
DavissaidheadingintotheweekendthatUtah,BoiseStateandPortlandweretheonlyschoolsshowinginterest.Afterrackingupdouble-digitscoringgameswithan"aw-shucks"attitudethroughouttheweek,the6-foot-5,165-poundtwoguardlookspoisedtoseethatlistgrow.
TurningoveranewLeaf
SanDiegohasanewLeaf,andthistimehe'staller,moreskilledandhasamuchhigherceilingthanhisolderbrother.
T.J.Leaf,the2016littlebrotherof2009ElCajon(Calif.)FoothillsChristiantwo-guardTroyLeaf,hadadazzlingweekendinSanDiego,lightingupthestatsheetwithblocks,boardsandpoints.
Andafterplayinginfrontofafewcollegecoacheswhowitnesseditall,he'sonthevergeofseeinghisrecruitmentexplode--andheknowsit.
"IhavemanypositionsthatIcanplay--theonethroughfivealmost,"saidT.J.,a6-foot-7,200-poundathlete."I'magoodshooterandagoodballhandler,andIworkeverydaytogetbetter,everygamedayandeveryday."
T.J.Leafsaidhe'sexpectingtogrowpossiblythreemoreinchesbythetimehegetstohissenioryear,andafterlandingoffersfromPortlandandtheUniversityofSanDiego,hecouldbepoisedforahugerecruitingarc.
"Everyoneinmyfamilyhit(agrowthspurt)attheendofthisyear,"T.J.said."SoifIhititattheendofthisyear,I'llbea6-10wing.So…"
It'safrighteningthought,andit'sonethatArizona,NewMexico,Stanford,UCLAandSanDiegoStatehaveentertained.Leafsaidthosearethebrand-nameschoolsshowingthemostinterest.
TheyoungLeafisinnohurrytomakeachoice.
"Mybrother,well,hewasgoingtogotoSanDiegoStateandthenhede-committed,"Leafsaid."So(hetoldme)nottocommittooearly,becausehecommittedattheendofhisfreshmanyear,whichiscrazy,soI'mgoingtowaitforawhile.Untiltheendofmyjunioryear."
Tip-ins
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Inabattleoftouted2016guards,SanDiego(Calif.)TorreyPinestwo-guardBrandonCyrusClickHeretoviewthisLink.bestedChatsworth(Calif.)SierraCanyonpointguardDerryckThorntonClickHeretoviewthisLink.Saturdayevening.Thorntonearnedaspotontheall-tournamentteamaftertheloss,however,easingthepain.
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Speakingof2016PGs,ChinoHills(Calif.)'sLonzoBallClickHeretoviewthisLink.hadanoutstandingtournament,showcasingagreatframe,excellentvisionandanicejumper.Heclaimsnooffers,butishearingfromUCLA,USCClickHeretoviewthisLink.,ArizonaandWashingtonClickHeretoviewthisLink..
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UCLAassistantcoachScottGarsonwatchedJustiseWinslowClickHeretoviewthisLink.andIvanRabbClickHeretoviewthisLink.Saturday.ArizonacoachescaughtthemonFriday.Washington,CaliforniaClickHeretoviewthisLink.andSanDiegoStatewatchedfour-star2014FCameronWalkerClickHeretoviewthisLink.Fridayaswell.
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2015Mesa(Ariz.)guardJalenJenkinsClickHeretoviewthisLink.saidhisonlytwooffersremain,NorthernArizonaandArizonaState,buthe'shearingalotmorefromOregonStateClickHeretoviewthisLink.,UCIrvineandArizona.
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2015HuntingtonBeach(Calif.)OceanViewguardKendallSmallClickHeretoviewthisLink.claimsanofferfromPortlandandsaidtheschoolhelikes"themost"rightnowisGonzaga.
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2014SanDiego(Calif.)FrancisParkerpowerforwardEvanFitznerClickHeretoviewthisLink.pickedupanofferfromCalrecently,butthe6-foot-10shootertoldRivals.comheremains"wideopen"inhisrecruitingprocess.
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2014 Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln guard Ahmaad RorieClick Here to view this Link., who made his Cal pledge before his junior season, said he's happy with his commitment.
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