'I'm just glad he has a chance.' In-state star impresses during UK visit

Pendleton County standout Dontaie Allen was one of the state’s best scorers and rebounders during his junior season, and figures to match or exceed that production for the Wildcats during his senior campaign next school year.

Where he’ll play college basketball has yet to be decided, but it sounds like there’s a frontrunner for his services if they choose to seek them.

“Dontaie’s dream school is the University of Kentucky,” Pendleton County Coach Keaton Belcher wrote in a text message to the Herald-Leader.

Such is the case for many of the state’s players annually, but Allen’s got a foot in the door; assistant coach Joel Justus watched Allen workout at Pendleton County’s gym on Saturday and invited the 2019 recruit to come play pickup games during an unofficial visit with UK’s team at the Craft Center in June.


Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen makes this shot for his 2,000 career high school point against Daviess Co. during the Republic Bank Holiday Classic in the Bueter Gymnasium at Lexington Catholic in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

Matt Goins

Allen, a 6-foot-7 forward who led the state in scoring (1,019 points) as a junior, left a good impression during his Saturday workout.

“Coach Justus really likes his size and skill set,” Belcher wrote. “He loved his shooting form and his soft release. UK is looking for somebody to make perimeter shots and Dontaie is a guy that can make shots. … At the next level Dontaie will be able to score and rebound consistently from the 2-3 position.”

Allen shot 59.1 percent from the field as a junior, including a 39.6-percent mark from three-point range. He averaged 31.8 points and 11.4 rebounds, and was one of three juniors who was a first-team selection to the Herald-Leader’s 2018 All-State team.

Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State, Northern Kentucky, Illinois State, IUPUI and Winthrop have offered Allen. UK has not offered any current in-state players, and the program has not signed an in-state boys’ basketball player since Dominique Hawkins (Madison Central) and Derek Willis (Bullitt East) in the class of 2013.

Justus during his visit expressed that Allen needs to improve his strength, conditioning, explosiveness and lateral quickness. Belcher said that Allen accepts that challenge and is ready to work.

“He would be a great four-year player at UK as he has tremendous upside,” Belcher said. “ … I’m just glad he has a chance. I speak for the rest of Pendleton County, but our fan base is really hoping it happens.”

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