By LARRY VAUGHT
Dontaie Allen has yet to be fully cleared to start practicing full speed with Kentucky because of his knee injury suffered last December when he was playing for Pendleton County and averaging 42 points per game before his season ended.
However, while some have speculated Allen would be redshirted this season, don’t count on that.
“When a kid shoots and scores the way he does, we are going to count on him this year but we have to give him an opportunity to get to 100 percent coming off that knee injury and see where he is,” Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne said.
“We will not recruit a kid to come in and not contribute right away. You don’t come to Kentucky to figure out three years down the road how to play. If we recruit you, we believe you can help us.
“If adjustments are too hard and it takes longer, that is fine but we are not recruiting you and saying you are not good enough to play right away.”
Allen is doing his best to make sure he’s ready to go when given the okay to practice full speed. Teammates say it’s not unusual for him to be in the gym as early as 6 a.m. shooting for an hour or more before going for knee rehab — and then he still has class, practice, tutoring, workouts and meals.
“You come in the gym early in the morning, and he’ll already be in there running up and getting up shots with a brace on that knee” sophomore teammate Ashton Hagans said. “That’s impressive and the kind of teammate I want.”