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February 23, 2009

Ex-Lake Clifton guard talks Miami pledge

Antoine Allen was a household name in Baltimore basketball circles last year.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pounder earned Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro honors during his senior year at Lake Clifton. Allen averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals last year, leading the Lakers to a 25-2 record and the Baltimore City championship.

But when it came time to pick a college, Allen wasn’t satisfied with his options or ready to make the transition to a four-year institution. So he held off on choosing a school, played AAU ball for Cecil Kirk last summer, resurfaced at Mississippi Elite Christian Academy for prep school and eventually ended his recruitment. Allen pledged to Miami earlier this month, picking the Hurricanes over Providence (where initially committed late last summer), Florida State, Virginia and Central Florida.

“Basically I just wanted to mature as a person,” Allen said of his decision to delay college a year. “Now I’ll come to college as a freshman and I’ll be ready for all the adversity. I’ll just be a mature young man and take charge as a freshman. I just wanted to have that one year to get responsible.”

Allen picked up an offer from Providence during the summer and committed shortly thereafter. He was originally slated to attend Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., but changed course for Mississippi, where he averaged approximately 20 points, six assists and five rebounds.

“[Miami was] involved with me since the summer time, but I had committed early to Providence,” Allen said. “Then I decommitted from Providence probably two weeks ago, and then basically Miami came back. I told them I opened up my recruitment and finished up my recruitment from there. I just thought it was the best fit for me.”

Anthony Lewis has coached Cecil Kirk for more than 20 years. The AAU coach/recreation & parks director said Allen compares favorably with two former Cecil Kirk standouts -- Illinois point guard Chester Frazier (Lake Clifton) and Miami guard Jack McClinton (Calvert Hall).

“Most recruiters ... have said he’s a cross between Jack McClinton and Chester Frazier, two kids that I had [at Cecil Kirk] before,” Lewis said. “He simply brings it on the defensive side, like Chester does. He brings it on the defensive end and has that kind of up in your face style. At the same time, he plays the offensive game as a young Jack McClinton did. With Jack at Miami, he was a very good shooter coming in. I think he became an even better shooter [in his time there]. I would compare Antoine to a young Jack McClinton, which is a very good shooter.”

Allen said he’s flattered by the comparisons to McClinton, but acknowledges that he has a long way to go to match the All-ACC player’s success in Coral Gables.

“I mean I hear that a lot, people comparing me to Jack McClinton,” Allen said. “Jack McClinton’s a very good player. I’m not up to his level yet, but hopefully if I keep working hard [I can get there]. But Jack’s at the top of his game right now. He’s one of the best players in the country. ... I like the simple fact at how Jack went to Miami to represent Baltimore, [and now I’m] coming to represent Baltimore. I’m just coming in to do my job.”

Click on the YouTube player for senior highlights of Allen at Lake Clifton.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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