It wasn't long ago that Shagari Alleyne, a 7-2, 250 pound junior center from Rice H.S. in New York, N.Y., could barely run up and down the court with the quick Raider guards on a fastbreak situation. It wasn't long ago that Alleyne would spent huge chunks of time on the bench while his team would attempt a comeback. It wasn't long ago when Alleyne would have all sorts of problems catching a ball in the low post.
But how six months has made a difference in Alleyne's game and the fortunes of the Rice Raiders, now perhaps one of the deepest teams on the high school level (along with Lincoln High School of Texas, Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, and Westchester of California).
Due to his physical appearance, Alleyne is always going to be a target for opposing fans and the opposition defense. It appears he has met these challenges well over the past couple of months. Alleyne is more confident in demanding the ball when he has position in the low post. He keeps the ball up high when he receives the entry pass. Alleyne doesn't make the same mistakes, such as bring the ball down to his chest. Guards use to strip him rather easily when he did this.
Alleyne is open in his recruiting process but stated that he is interested in Temple, North Carolina, UConn, Miami, Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova, Louisville and Kentucky.
Coaching staffs from Villanova, St. John's, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Providence, and Georgia Tech were on hand to watch Alleyne score 17 points in a victory over Chris Taft and Xaverian High School last Sunday. Alleyne hopes to help Rice put a finishing touch on the New York City Catholic League playoffs with a win tonight against All Hallows. Rivalshoops.com will have the results as well as an interview with Alleyne on his season and his recruiting process.
Thus far, Alleyne has taken unofficial visits to Miami, St. John's and Seton Hall. He had a chance to visit Miami when Rice played at an event there in January, and he has been to several games at St. John's and Seton Hall in the past year.
Strength and conditioning are the two biggest challenges with Alleyne. He needs to add more weight to this upper frame and arms. His upside can be described as one word -- tremendous. Shagari Alleyne can be one of the best players in the 2003 class -- if he has the desire to do so. It's up to Shagari to determine how great he will be in his future. He is blessed with the size. He has improved the skills. More work is needed but he has made some incredible strides.
This season, he averages roughly 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game. He said he has an 81 average in the classroom but has yet to take the SAT or ACT. He plans to take the SAT some time in the next few months.
Alleyne said he expects to again attend the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis this summer, though he said he wasn't sure if he would be playing ball on the summer circuit with an AAU outfit. Over the past couple of years, he has played on the Bronx Gauchos squad out of New York City.