After a breakout sophomore season at Calvary Christian (West Palm Beach, Fla.), Marvel Allen entered the summer with supreme confidence, ready to take on all comers.
After all, Allen was coming off a state title run with the Eagles, averaging 14 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-best three assists a game on a talent-ladened team, setting the stage, in his eyes, for a hostile takeover in the Nike EYBL.
“I was just so focused on dominating,” said Allen, who ran with E1T1 (Fla.) this summer. “I was coming at everybody.”
He made good on that proclamation two games into the EYBL, averaging 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists a game.
In the third game against Drive Nation (Texas), Allen was dominating at an even higher level, scoring 20 points before suffering a severe ankle sprain, which sidelined him for the rest of the summer.
“I tried to come back, but I ended up spraining it again,” Allen said. “It was very frustrating for me because it was clear that I was taking things to another level.”
The consolation for Allen is that college coaches agreed with that assessment after the first 2.5 games.
Illinois, Penn State, Miami, Alabama, Georgia, Memphis, Clemson, Florida and Ole Miss, among many others, are all in spirited pursuit of the 6-foot-5 combo guard. Most have been out to open gyms at Calvary to see Allen since the recruiting period began on Sept. 9.
This past weekend, Allen took an official visit to Georgia.
“I had a great experience on my first visit,” Allen said. “They showed way more than love to me and my family! Very detailed, they have a great plan for you to be successful, academics and athletics. The players treated me like family, I felt comfortable and spent a lot of time with the guys and the coaches are very passionate and want to help their players succeed. From Coach (Tom) Crean all the way down to Georgia’s athletics director everyone made me feel special.”
Allen will admit this much, the heightened attention from coaches comes with a level of constant communication that can be a grind of its own; still, Allen said he’s adamant about staying present with the recruitment process and enjoying every aspect.
“For now, I don’t want to think about the future and all that stuff, I want to just enjoy it and take it all in,” Allen said. “I’m liking getting to know the coaches and building relationships for now.”
That said, Allen is clear that he’s looking for the school with the best opportunity to see the court early and often.
“I want to start as a freshman,” Allen said. “I say that because I know that I’m gonna put the work in to do that. I don’t want anything handed to me, I’m gonna earn it, that’s how I’m wired. I want to know if they see me starting in their program.”
Still, in the end, Allen said his ultimate decision will transcend the hardwood.
“I’m all about relationships,” Allen said. “I look at how coaches interact with me off the court, more than just basketball. I want to play for a coach that I can l look up to because one day I want to be a great father and mentor, so I will factor that in too.”