'I rock Kentucky blue': In-state star Dontaie Allen commits to Wildcats

Photo: Bryan Woolston, for the Courier Journal

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky basketball fans crying for John Calipari to recruit more local players have gotten their wish.

On Thursday, class of 2019 Pendleton County High School star forward Dontaie Allen committed to Kentucky, one day after apparently nabbing a scholarship offer during a visit to campus.

The commitment comes just a few weeks after Allen’s breakout week at the Under Armour Challenge in Cartersville, Georgia, which garnered him a bevy of high-major offers, including one from Louisville.

Allen’s AAU team, the M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs, does not usually play on any of the major AAU shoe company circuits, but the Under Armour Challenge is open to unaffiliated programs, offering the change for added exposure during the July evaluation period.

Allen made the most of that exposure by leading the tournament in scoring (26.4 points per game) while ranking fourth in rebounds (6.8 per game) and assists (4.8 per game). He scored 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go with four rebounds and two assists as Calipari watched on the second day of the tournament.

“I think I showed them what I’m capable of,” Allen said after his team’s final game. “It was against a lot better competition, so I really liked that about it. It elevated my game, I felt like.”

He scored at least 30 points three times in five games and capped the tournament with a game-winning mid-range jumper in a tie game with less than two seconds remaining to finish a double-double with 32 points and 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-7 wing also picked up scholarship offers from Florida, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Oklahoma, Iowa State, St. Louis, Auburn, Louisville and Clemson after the Under Armour showing.

Calipari watched him again at an AAU event in Louisville last weekend.

Allen took an unofficial visit to UK in June but was unable to play in pickup games with the current Wildcats due to a minor injury. Allen made his second visit to campus Wednesday.

“I think his ceiling is he could be an NBA draft pick,” Pendleton County coach Keaton Belcher recently told Courier Journal. “This time last year I was thinking, OK he’s got mid-major offers but can he play high-major basketball, high-level basketball on Division I? Now I’m thinking, is he NBA good? He hasn’t come close yet to scratching the surface yet for his full potential.”

Since visiting Kentucky, Allen has also visited West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Vanderbilt, Purdue, Xavier, Dayton, Nevada and Western Kentucky have all also offered since the spring.

UK has not signed a scholarship recruit from Kentucky since Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins in 2014.

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