Allen experiences Big Blue Madness

Pendleton County Wildcats senior basketball standout and University of Kentucky commit Dontaie Allen took his official visit to campus along with his family and was among a VIP guest list during Big Blue Madness held at Rupp Arena on Oct. 12.

Allen, who verbally committed to the Wildcats in August, sat front row during the festivities which serve as the unofficial start of the college basketball season. He was joined by fellow Class of 2019 verbal commits Tyrese Maxey and Khalil Whitney along with a handful of other talented potential recruits who are on the radar of the tradition-rich basketball program.

Big Blue Madness annually delivers a first-rate showcase of current players while also paying homage to the past stars who deliver ever-lasting moments and championship banners that are on full display in the rafters of Rupp Arena. Everyone in attendance was treated to competitions by both women’s and men’s teams, and the finale was a scrimmage by a Wildcat squad that enters the season as the preseason number one ranked team by several national media outlets.  For Allen, the opportunity to experience the glitz and glamour that is Kentucky basketball from courtside is something that left him amazed.

“I’ve been to games before, but to receive a standing ovation during the Big Blue Madness was something different. There is nothing else quite like Big Blue Nation!” explained the six foot six scoring machine who led the state last season with 1,019 points.

Prior to the festivities, Allen and family arrived on campus in Lexington where they toured through some of the classrooms that will be occupying next year as a freshman. He along with the other recruits also visited the home of head coach John Calipari and were treated to a meal by his wife, Erin. He was also able to take part in scrimmaging with the current Wildcats.

“Mrs. Calipari is a good cook and she has a great personality. It was fun to get to spend time with the other players and I took time to pay attention to how the guys warmed up before practicing and try get a feel for what their routines are,” he said.

Allen described the atmosphere during the practice as “super competitive” as he knows a lot of hard work is ahead of him as he continues to develop and learn as a basketball player. But his commitment to honing his game is something that has already become legendary around Pendleton County high school as he is notoriously known for showing up to the gym hours before school starts and putting in late nights after practice concludes. The spotlight will be shining brightly on him next year as he becomes the first in-state player since 2013 to wear the blue and white. Never one to back down from a challenge, he’s already taking to heart the words stressed by Coach Calipari about what it takes to be successful at Kentucky.

"During the weekend Coach Cal was preaching hard work. If you come in and work hard then you will be successful and get to where you want to go, but if you don’t, then it’s going to take you longer.”