So far this season, eight different high school gyms have been the setting for the Dontaie Allen Show, a traveling basketball bonanza of offensive excellence rarely seen in this hoops-crazed state.
Allen — a 6-foot-6 senior wing for Pendleton County — will finish the calendar year with three games in Ashland and start the next one with an appearance at Sayre School in Lexington, his future basketball home.
His attack on the record books has raised eyebrows across the state and large crowds in whichever town he happens to be in on any given night. The reaction for the first in-state recruit in six years to play his senior season as a University of Kentucky basketball signee — the highest of honors on the Bluegrass prep circuit — has been just about what you’d expect.
“It’s like traveling with a rock star,” said Pendleton County head coach Keaton Belcher. “We pull into the parking lot of a gym at 5 o’clock for a 7:30 game, and the parking lot is already half full. We walk into the gym, and everybody’s eyes are waiting on Dontaie Allen to walk into the building. He’s already signed tons of autographs. He’s taken tons of photographs. I feel like after every game, either me or him are being interviewed by a local newspaper or TV station.
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“It’s been an exciting, fun ride. Honestly, it’s gone by way too quick. It needs to slow down. He’s putting Pendleton County on the map, and we’re all kind of going to Kentucky with him. So, for us small-town people to have something like this, we’re really cherishing it right now.”
Ten games into the season, no one who has bought a ticket to see Allen play has gone home disappointed.
The future Kentucky Wildcat’s nightly stats often require a second look. “It looks like a typo. Like, ‘There’s no way that’s right.’ It’s really eye-popping,” said Belcher, who rewatches and double-checks every one of his team’s games to make sure Allen’s final numbers are correct.
Those numbers, so far: 439 points, 154 rebounds, 40 assists, 31 blocked shots, 25 steals and 40 three-pointers. A reminder: the kid has played in 10 games. In four of them, he has scored more than 50 points. In a three-game stretch earlier this month, Belcher said Allen could have easily scored 60 each night, but Pendleton County was winning by so much that he was sent to the bench early.
It’d be difficult for anyone familiar with high school basketball in this state not to get caught up in the list of Kentucky hoops dignitaries that Allen has passed or will pass in the near future. His ascent in the record books — he scored his 3,000th career point last week — has knocked plenty of well-known names down a peg.
In his most recent game, Allen passed former Paintsville star J.R. VanHoose for the 24th spot on the state’s all-time scoring list.
By the end of the month, he’s likely to pass former Muhlenberg North star Patrick Sparks on the list of made three-pointers.
Before the regular season is finished, he’ll likely become the state’s all-time leader in made free throws.
And he’s not just a scorer. At the high school level, he can do it all: 1,198 career rebounds, 352 career assists, 271 career blocks and 189 career steals.
“People that think they know basketball just assume that he shoots the ball every time down the floor. He’s actually a really unselfish player,” said Belcher. “How many guys do you know that are on pace for 4,000 points but also 400 career assists? Not too many. I tell people, ‘He scores the ball like King Kelly Coleman, but he rebounds the ball like J.R. VanHoose.’ … He’s the ultimate fantasy basketball player.”
Coleman is the state’s all-time leading scorer with 4,337 points, a seemingly unbreakable record. He’s also the only player in Kentucky basketball history to eclipse 4,000 points for his career, something Allen (3,136 points so far) has a very good chance of doing before he leaves high school.
Pendleton County has 19 regular-season games left on the schedule, with the possibility of more if the Wildcats can beat Mason County and advance in the Class 2A sectionals next month.
If Allen continues at his current pace of 43.9 points per game — and stays healthy for the remainder of the season — he would have 3,970 career points, even if Pendleton loses in its first game of the 2A event.
Then, of course, comes the postseason. If Pendleton County wins its district semifinal game — and the Wildcats have won the district in three of Allen’s previous four seasons — there would be a guarantee of at least three total postseason games for Allen to continue his assault on the record books. A region title — something Pendleton County has won only three times in its history — would mean at least six postseason games (and a trip to the state tournament at Rupp Arena, of course) for Allen and the Wildcats.
Coleman’s state record — the former Wayland High legend scored 690 more points than the next player on the list, Flat Gap’s Charlie Osborne — would be within reach if Pendleton County (7-3 so far this season) can manage a deep run in the 2A sectionals or the 10th Region tournament. Allen needs 1,202 points to pass Coleman, and — at his current scoring pace for the season — he would need 28 games to do that. It’s not out of the question.
“Obviously, if he stays healthy and we don’t have a major blizzard or anything, he’ll be No. 2 all-time in the state without even having that good of a season the rest of the year,” Belcher said. “To put up these numbers, you have to be consistently great for a long time. And he’s definitely done that.”