By LARRY VAUGHT
What might be one thing that Kentucky basketball fans — or fans who will see him play at the Marshall County Hoopfest Dec. 1 — don’t know about Pendleton County senior Dontaie Allen that he wishes they did?
“I am just like a normal kid. I really love cereal. I play video games. I hang out with friends. Watch movies. Pretty much anything a normal kid would do. I know I play basketball a lot, but I am still a normal kid in every way,” Allen smiled and said.
He also has a favorite subject that might surprise you.
“I like math. I like business class. But I love math. I just like solving problems. I always have,” Allen, who has no idea about what his major might be at UK, said.
Pendleton County does not have a lot of distractions for a high school student. Allen says that has been a plus for him.
“I think that is also one thing that made me fall in love with basketball. There is not really much to do around Pendleton County,” he said. “There was chill at the house, go play basketball, chill at the house, go play basketball. So I played a lot of basketball.”
His success has already made him a role model for youngsters in his home county and he hopes that reach increases when he gets to Kentucky.
“I have kind of seen a glimpse of it already with kids just hitting me up on my Instagram asking for advice on tryouts, drills to do. I think that is good, though, because I can talk to the younger generation and let them know things that maybe I didn’t know but now I do so I can share with them,” Allen said.
He knows he likely might get asked to sign a lot of autographs or pose for pictures with fans at Hoopfest.
“For sure I will like that,” Allen said. “It is definitely going to be a fun ride this season with UK fans coming out to watch me. Growing up a Kentucky fan, I always watched Darius Miller, Anthony Davis, John Wall. Those were the ones I really liked. Darius is someone I always looked up to with him being from Mason County and the 10th Region like me. That was really big to me.”
Could that extra attention put pressure on him, especially with Pendleton having to replace so many players off last year’s team?
“I feel like it can be both pressure and no pressure at the same time. It will only be good pressure if I handle things right,” he said. “I am still going to Kentucky but I still want to have a good senior season with my team. It could go both ways but I really think it is going to be a lot of fun.”
He says getting Pendleton County to the state tournament would “top off everything” about his high school career.
“Every since I started playing high school in eighth grade, I have always wanted to go to the state tournament. It would mean a lot to do that this season. It would be really big,” Allen said.