UK Recruiting

Dontaie Allen honored at Rupp during Kentucky’s busy recruiting night

Kentucky signee Dontaie Allen was introduced to the Rupp Arena crowd during the Wildcats’ game against No. 1-ranked Tennessee on Saturday night.

Former UK player and game-day emcee Ravi Moss announced Allen to the home crowd during the first media timeout of the game, resulting in a loud, standing ovation from the Wildcats’ fans, who were already on their feet after Kentucky started the game with a 7-4 lead on the Vols.

Allen suffered a torn ACL and torn meniscus in December and underwent knee surgery early last month, bringing an end to his impressive career at Pendleton County High School. The 6-foot-6 wing finished 10th in scoring in state history and was on pace to become Kentucky’s second all-time leading scorer.

His father, Tony Thomas, told the Herald-Leader a couple of weeks ago that doctors have estimated Allen could be able to return to the basketball court in October, depending on how his recovery progresses.

Allen said at the time that he was looking forward to getting to Rupp Arena for a home game but wanted to wait until he was off crutches to make that trip. He was without his crutches Saturday and gave a wave to the Rupp crowd when he was introduced.

“I’m getting a lot of support from the community,” Allen told the Herald-Leader after his surgery. “They’ve always been there, and they’re still there, and that means the world to me.”

The headliner among uncommitted recruiting guests in Rupp Arena on Saturday night was Keion Brooks, a five-star wing in the 2019 class who appears to be in the final stages of his recruitment.

Brooks — a 6-7 prospect from Fort Wayne, Ind. — was one of the first players in the 2019 class to land a UK scholarship offer, and he took an official visit to UK in the fall. He’s also planning to visit Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. Indiana is the other program at the top of his list, and the Hoosiers are currently a heavy favorite on his 247Sports Crystal Ball page.

His regular-season schedule with La Lumiere School ends in a few days, and Brooks will then have several weeks off before his team plays in the Geico national tournament in late March. He has said that he’s hoping to make a college decision during that time.

Allen and Brooks stood together and chatted behind the the Wildcats’ bench during the few minutes before tipoff, then ended up sitting next to each other for the game.

UK planned to host two other visitors — class of 2020 guard Justin Powell and class of 2021 guard Kennedy Chandler — Saturday night.

Powell — a 6-5 shooting guard — is a former Louisville Trinity player who is now back at North Oldham High School after a brief transfer to Montverde Academy (Fla.). Powell, ranked as the top prospect in Kentucky for the 2020 class, was a starter for North Oldham as an eighth-grader before playing two seasons at Trinity.

247Sports ranks Powell as the No. 142 overall prospect in the 2020 class, and he has reported scholarship offers from Auburn, Tennessee, Xavier and a few other top programs.

Chandler — a 6-0 point guard from Memphis — is one of the rising stars in the sophomore class and landed his first major scholarship offer from Mississippi earlier this season.

It was reported earlier that five-star shooting guard Brandon Boston — one of the top players in the 2020 class — was supposed to visit for the UK-Tennessee game, but the Herald-Leader was told this week that Boston is instead targeting next weekend’s UK-Auburn game for a possible visit.

Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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