When Justin Allen leads his club team Passion 4 Ball through this month’s showcases to be evaluated by colleges, he feels those players are way ahead of where he was, before signing to play at Arizona State in 1999.
Allen came from little Malta High in Minnesota, where the enrollment was 80.
He never played AAU ball in the spring and summer. He said he never went to Nike and Adidas camps.
But he knew how to get word out to colleges about him.
NEW AAU FRONTIER: Top talent leaving Arizona to showcase basketball skills
“I’m going to date myself, but I put together a VHS tape and a resume and sent those out,” Allen said. “It was pretty cool. ASU was always a place I wanted to go.”
Rob Evans, then the ASU coach, offered Allen after watching highlights from his senior season when he averaged 26 points.
These days, there are tournaments galore during the July evaluation period and colleges coaches are everywhere scouting.
Allen is a great example of perseverance to his players.
The 6-foot-8 forward overcame Hodgkin’s Disease and graduated in four years with a 3.46 grade-point average at ASU.
He now finds passion helping kids get a jump on basketball. But his teachings aren’t all about hoops. They go much deeper.
Among his top players is 6-9 senior forward Nik Mains, who averaged 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last season. Allen also has Phoenix Brophy Prep senior guard Bo Brunkhorst, and Tempe McClintock senior point guard Malique Washington.
“With our group, our lowest GPA is 3.2,” Allen said. “Academically, they’re great. They don’t have to worry about getting into schools.”
Allen has seen Arizona grown tremendously with basketball talent since his playing days in the early 2000s at ASU.
“When you think of the national stage, you think of California, Texas and Florida,” Allen said. “There’s been some solid playing coming out of Arizona lately. I think there’s a lot of college players now.”