The following is a look at how Shagari Alleyne will fit in at the University of Kentucky:
Shagari Alleyne, the 7-2 center from Rice High School in New York City, has given a commitment now to the Kentucky basketball program. He did so after first denying he was backing out of his verbal commitment to Rutgers. But this was Alleyne's right. He didn't sign the letter of intent and gave himself the option of looking at other schools if he wished.
But the big question for Alleyne and Kentucky fans is whether you believe Shagari is a project? Well, the answer is actually yes and no.
Alleyne, two seasons ago, was absolutely dominate in the Catholic High School League Playoffs. He beat up on some pretty good opponents too (Chris Taft included) in helping Rice to the State tournament back in 2001-2002. Based upon that tournament, it looked like Alleyne was ready to propel into the top 20 on most recruiting rankings list.
However, Alleyne's play did not remain consistent. And it could have been for several reasons. The Rice guards were among the best in the country in 2001-2002 (and they had at least three that were division one players). This opened up the lane for Alleyne to receive entry passes. During the CHSAA playoffs, Alleyne had developed a dominant inside move. He would receive the pass about five to eight feet from the center of the basket. He would then spin and shoot the short jumper. Alleyne rarely missed during the playoffs.
With word spreading about Alleyne's talent and how his skills were becoming a big factor offensively, Shagari was clamped down on this season by double and triple-teamming.
When Shagari first played his freshman year at Rice, he could barely run up the court. So there were many in the New York City area that didn't take his progress seriously until his junior year. And in his senior year, he was met with players surrounding him from all sides.
But Tubby Smith, like the staff at Rutgers, has been successful in developing big man talent. Alleyne would have a chance to be successful at both programs. But he didn't sign a letter of intent, giving him the opportunity to change his mind if he wished.
He did. He is now committed to Kentucky. He will not light the world on fire right away but in time, Alleyne will end up being a top college basketball players. Alleyne will block many shots, grab many rebounds, and astound you with his reach as he dunks on his tippy toes. And if Smith is able to put some perimeter people on the UK roster, Alleyne is going to be that more effective. Shagari just has to put the time and effort into it for Kentucky program.