Feb. 13, 2006
It’s an all-too-common story — boy gets introduced to the game of basketball; develops a strong passion for the game; can’t stay off the court; and plays throughout grade school. He then wants to continue his dream of playing basketball for a major college and be drafted into the National Basketball Association.
But for many, this all-too-common story is somewhat different.
Florida State University basketball player Jerel Allen had a different route through the field of basketball. His story begins in the city of Detroit with his older brother introducing him to the game.
“As far as I can remember, my older brother and I would play in the back yard with a crate being constructed in the shape of a basketball net being put on the garage. We would always put it on a level where we could dunk” Allen said.
Even though he grew up in a cool climate, Allen always found a way to keep playing some sport during each season.
For example, during the fall and winter he would pick up football and then in the spring and summer months he would play basketball. When Allen entered high school, he felt like he was a good basketball player.
“During my first and second years of high school, I played on the junior varsity team while waiting my turn to play
on the varsity team,” he said. “Once I finally grew a couple of inches, I started to gain a little more recognition.”
When it came time for recruiting, Allen saw fellow players around Detroit getting publicized, he felt one of the only reasons he was not enjoying that publicity was because he did not play AAU ball.
“I felt I was doing well by averaging 25 or 26 points a game,” Allen said. “I just kept telling myself that I was going to meet them on the court in a few years.”
As many people know, boys dream of playing for a major college right out of high school. But for Allen he took his time at Mott Community College as a learning experience.
“Junior college helps you on and off the court,” Allen said. “It especially keeps you humble and showcases how hard you have been working to strive to get somewhere. It’s an experience — you are more mature and already have a two-year degree which will make you more focused. You will also be more of a leader.”
Attending a community college makes a player want to show their skills even more in hopes of being noticed by the recruiters who overlooked them years before.
“By attending a junior college, it makes you hungry to show major schools your talents,” he said.
After Allen’s two-year experience, he received many offers from prestigious schools but decided on Florida State because, “Coach ( Leonard Hamilton) is a good recruiter and the atmosphere is great. Also the Atlantic
Coast Conference is one of the big time conferences and my family was leaning on me to come here since I have a brother here in Florida and I would not be alone.”
As Allen is now embarking on his first real season at the Division I level, he now looks back on his junior college days and would support any high school athlete who goes to a junior college.
” It’s okay to go play at the junior college level,” he said. “It just makes you want to work hard e r. I am so grateful for my time at Mott Community College.”
Once he is done with college, Allen would like to be remembered as a great team member who always wanted to get the team going. He also thinks about his dream of going to the NBA but for now he is focused on his academics and playing at Florida State.
By Meghan Reilly FSU Sports Information