TOP SPORTS STORY OF 2019: Allen lived out a dream
It was a magical high school ride for Dontaie Allen that ended on a March night in Lexington when, after a dramatic pause, his name was read as the 2019 Kentucky Mr. Basketball.
He told Falmouth Outlook reporter Sam McClanahan on that night, “I really wasn’t expecting to win. I was just living in the moment. Honestly, I think people appreciated the way I played.”
The senior had exploded on the scene during an AAU summer season that he was leading tournament after tournament in scoring while also being one of the top rebounders.
While he had been on the University of Kentucky’s radar since his sophomore season, Coach John Calipari made his first visit to watch Dontaie play, and he saw Allen hit a game winning shot. An invite to visit the campus quickly followed.
It was during that visit that Cal offered a scholarship, and Allen accepted in arguably a recruiting landspeed record.
He became the first in-state recruit for Cal in several years. As such, the Pendleton County Wildcats were playing in front of huge crowds during the two scrimmages and first 13 games of the regular season. After each game, Allen was besieged with autograph and photograph requests.
It all came to a sudden end with an ACL injury in a game versus Cooper High School, but despite the abbreviated senior season Allen had caught the voters attention.
Averaging over 45 points a game with seven games where he scored more than 50 points, he had lit the Commonwealth on fire. The fire was rekindled as Mr. Basketball consideration began to take hold.
Recently, Allen received his Mr. Basketball ring before the UK-Georgia Tech game. He is still rehabbing from the ACL injury and has yet to take the court for the Wildcats, the blue and white version.
“I would like to thank God. Being selected Kentucky Mr. Basketball was a blessing and is a tremendous honor. I was just a young kid who wanted to leave his mark. There were winners before me and there will be after me. My only goal was to inspire others and I would like to believe I did just that. Blessed beyond belief,” Allen told Falmouth Outlook on the Mr. Basketball selection and being chosen by the readers of Falmouth Outlook as the top sports story of 2019.
Allen was the18th Kentucky Wildcat signee to win the award and the third Tenth Region player to earn such honors. Mason County stars Chris Lofton and Darius Miller also won the award.
Befitting his reputation as a gym rat with a legendary work ethic that contributed to his being selected, Allen was in the gym at 6:30 a.m. the morning after the ceremony to get some shots up and put in the work.