By LARRY VAUGHT
Nothing can take away from the excitement Dontaie Allen has about playing in the Marshall County Hoopfest tonight.
So what if he forgot his game shorts and left them in Pendleton County Friday when the team came here? So what if Marshall County star sophomore Zion Harmon has yet to be ruled eligible by the Kentucky School Association and can’t play? So what if the game will start at 9:30 p.m. EST or later?
For Allen, it’s all good.
“Hopefully it ends up with a win tonight but I don’t really know,” he said Saturday while watching Scott County beat Olive Branch, Miss. “I was really looking forward to that matchup with Zion because we have never played against each other but it doesn’t take away from the game.
“I have always wanted to be in this tournament. Growing up and seeing the NBA players now that used to play in it, it takes nothing away (with Harmon not able to play). I am still going to play my game and try to help my team get a win here at Hoopfest because that would mean a lot to our team and school. It is just big time here and I am glad we were invited and can participate in this.”
What about forgetting his pants?
“I don’t know how I did that,” he laughed and said. “I will just borrow a teammate’s hopefully. I’ve never done that before, and I won’t again.”
Allen has already set his one-game scoring record twice in two games this year. He had 52 points in a win over Williamstown Tuesday and 53 points in a loss at Scott Thursday.
“It is about getting wins and being a leader for my team more than scoring,” Allen, who had a double-double in both games, said. “I have played well but my shooting percentage numbers have not been that good and I have to get better defensively. So there are things that I can definitely do better.
“My mom always told me that rebounding was big. I go into every game saying I have to get a lot of rebounds and the points will follow after that. Once you get locked in on defense, everything will fall in place, too, and your team will follow suit.”
Allen has younger, less experienced teammates than he did last year, but he’s gladly accepted more of a leadership role that coach Keaton Belcher has put on him.
“It is just something I need to work on. Coach says I am usually a leader by example, so being a vocal leader is something I need to work on more,” Allen said. “That will help me at UK next year. I have to work to do that and what is a better time than now before I get to UK and can help my teammates at the same time.”