Sometimes the "Kentucky Effect" can impact a player without ever stepping foot on campus. Whether it ultimately ends in an offer, receiving any level of interest from the University of Kentucky can be a boon to a high school basketball player's recruitment.
Just ask Dontaie Allen, who last month worked out for UK assistant coach Joel Justus as part of a weekend visit to Pendleton County High School. Since then, interest in Allen has picked up considerably. Big Ten stalwart Purdue has been in contact along with Providence, whom Allen doesn't know much about other than it being where Chicago Bulls star Kris Dunn played, he confessed to 247Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Snow after the Terrific 24 event in Indianapolis last month. Louisville Coach Chris Mack was in attendance to watch him play during that event, too.
Xavier offered Allen during a visit Monday and he is planning to visit Western Kentucky, which has been recruiting him since the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic in Lexington in December, on Wednesday. He was in Lexington this past weekend competing with his AAU team, M.A.T.T.S Mustangs.
"It’s really picked up, the recruiting process, for me," Allen said with a grin. "It feels good, but I’ve got to stay level-headed and work on my game. If I don't work on it, (the interest) doesn't mean anything, so I've got to keep on it."
Allen earlier this month was invited to participate in the Pangos All-American Camp, a highly scouted event set for June 1-3 in California. He'll take an unofficial visit to UK in June, during which he'll scrimmage with members of the current roster.
Getting the chance to size himself up against UK's current team members could be a pivotal moment in Allen's recruitment. UK has told him that they like his skill set and shooting ability but would like to see his conditioning improve.
"I agreed 100 percent," Allen said of that critique, adding that he plans to spend a lot of time on the track this summer.
Allen was a first-team All-State selection after averaging 31.8 points and 11.4 rebounds as a junior. He shot 59.1 percent from the field and 39.6 percent three-point range, and should be among the frontrunners for Mr. Basketball honors next March.
He'll have a better notion of where he stands after Pangos and the UK visit, but Allen isn't yet sure when he'd like to make a decision. In addition to Xavier he currently has offers from Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State, IUPUI, Morehead State, Northern Kentucky and Winthrop. "It is a matter of time before he begins to get high-major offers," Snow wrote for 247Sports.
Allen said he'd like to play right away in college but ultimately just wants to go to a school that's "the right fit" for his development as a player. He'd love to receive an offer from either one of the state's two major basketball programs, but he's excited about what the future holds if those don't materialize.
"If it fits, I’d be blessed either way," Allen said.