There is a buzz surrounding Chris Allen, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound shooting guard from Meadowcreek High School in metro Atlanta. High-major coaches are making him a top target in 2007 and his performance on Monday night helped explain why so many schools are extending free rides to the four-star prospect.
Allen and his 7-1 Meadowcreek Mustangs team played host to perennial power South Gwinnett High School on Monday night and it looked like Comets, led by Avery Jukes (Alabama) and Delano Howard (Georgia State), was going to take home an easy victory.
Allen started the game one for five from the field in the first half and never looked like he was in the flow of the game.
"Our help got into early foul trouble when all of them when out, I was trying to do too much by taking it on myself to score and taking stupid shots," Allen said. "Coach took me out and talked to me and calmed me down. Then we tried nip away at their lead and put ourselves into a position to win."
Down by as many as 17 at one point, Allen came alive in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third on just four shots. Then came the fourth quarter.
"I told my coach that I was going to take over and that he didn't have to worry about me taking any bad shots," the soft-spoken Allen said. "I tried to penetrated and tried to get fouled so we could score with the clock stopped."
That worked. Allen, known more for his perimeter touch, was able to use a hesitation dribble to get into the paint for scores at the bucket and being fouled en route to the rim. Allen was able to sink all five of his free throw attempts.
He was two of five from down town and both three pointers helped bring Meadowcreek to a three-point deficit. Allen finished with 19 points in the final eight minutes and 29 points in the second half. Allen ended with a stunning 39 points (13-26 FG, 6-12 3 pointers, 7-7 FT).
Not a bad night of work, especially with Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and Spartan assistant Mark Montgomery watching on. So was Georgia assistant Pete Hermann and Alabama assistant Eugene Harris, who was also there to see Jukes in action.
"I know I had to play hard because coaches from some of the schools that I'm thinking about going to were here," Allen said. "I don't want them to change their minds."
No worries there.
Despite the 70-65 loss, Allen justified why he's becoming such a popular guy with the high-major schools. He said he's received new scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Miami and NC State in the last couple of weeks. They join Michigan State, Georgia, Clemson and Tennessee.
"Right now, I don't really know who the top school is," Allen said. "It's probably the same order (Michigan State and Georgia) but I just know that those are my top two right now. I'm just trying to get us to state and then to the Final Four."
Other notes: South Gwinnett had a solid performance from it's top two players. Alabama bound Avery Jukes was a perfect eight for eight from the foul line in the fourth quarter to help seal off the surging Meadowcreek team. Jukes finished with 24 points (5-15 FG, 14-19 FT) and 10 rebounds…Delano Howard, a Georgia State signee, added 19 points in the victory and scored at will with dribble penetration and showed off a deadly crossover move…Meadowcreek sophomore TeAndre Williams was handcuffed with foul trouble for the entire game but the 6-foot-4 wing has a chance to be a solid mid-major plus prospect. He's a big-time athlete with a respectable jumper from the wing.