BBC Notebook: Duke signee Allen’s rise to stardom began in Myrtle Beach

ablondin@thesunnews.comDecember 28, 2013 

JANET BLACKMON MORGAN — jblackmon@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

Grayson Allen had scholarship offers from dozens of colleges across the nation to choose from.

The 6-foot-4 senior guard from Providence High in Jacksonville, Fla., chose Duke from a list of finalists that included Florida, N.C. State, Florida State, Georgia and Gonzaga.

Prior to his participation in a Big Shots summer tournament camp at Socastee High School the summer after his sophomore season, the number of offers stood at three.

Allen recalls he broke out with a 45-point performance at the camp, and from there his stock began to skyrocket.

“Prior to my trip here the summer going into my junior year I had I think three offers from schools in Florida,” Allen said. “The week after that [camp] I gained at least like 10-plus offers and interest from a bunch of schools and it really picked up from there.

“That summer, after Myrtle Beach, I went from having three offers to 40 offers. For it all to start here is kind of cool. It’s a really good feeling to be back.”

Allen has displayed the full array of talents this week at the Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center that caught the attention of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and other coaches across the country.

He has shown off his very deep 3-point range, leaping ability, explosiveness to the basket, touch on pull-up jumpers, on-the-ball defense and shot-blocking ability.

“It’s cool that he has come back to Myrtle Beach, where everything really took off for him,” said Big Shots vice president and national scouting director Kevin Schneider of Myrtle Beach. “He’s one of those guys that has earned everything he’s got and when the lights were on he shined.”

Allen was the Florida player of the year and helped the Stallions win a state title last season.

The Duke offer came last spring after an in-home visit by Krzyzewski and assistants Steve Wojciechowski and Jeff Capel. “I think it took me about a week to call back and say, ‘yes,’ ” Allen said.

A ring for all seasons

Moeller (Ohio) senior Gus Ragland has one last chance to earn a ring for all seasons for the Crusaders.

The 6-2 senior has led the Moeller football team to consecutive state championships in the state’s largest classification as a quarterback, and helped the Moeller baseball team earn its second consecutive state title this past spring as a starting pitcher.

The basketball team has won state titles in 1999, 2003 and ’07, and was the state runner-up in ’10, but the school’s boys haven’t earned a winter season title during Ragland’s time on varsity.

“Last year we thought we had a pretty good team but just couldn’t get it done,” Ragland said. “We’re back again and have a lot of talent this year and I think we can make a run in basketball this year. This is my last chance. We need to do it.”

“We have a lot of guys coming back, a lot of experience and a lot of depth, we just need to put it together.”

Students have to purchase their own championship rings, so winning is becoming an expensive habit. “A couple of my uncles are starting to chip in, so my dad is happy about that,” Ragland said.

Ragland was the football Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Division I in Ohio and had eight touchdowns in the state championship game with five rushing and three passing.

Ragland has signed with Miami (Ohio) to play football next fall.

What Brown can do

Jalek Felton has brought a lot of attention to the Mullins basketball program with his last name and skill level as a freshman. He played a large part in earning the Auctioneers an invitation to participate in the Beach Ball Classic.

That added attention may just benefit Mullins senior Alex Brown, who has been the unquestioned leader of the Aucs for a few years.

In a game Friday against Franklin (Ohio) junior Luke Kennard, the No. 24 college prospect in ESPN’s Class of 2015 rankings, Brown nearly stole the second-half show. While Kennard netted a game-high 45 points, Brown dropped in 33, including 23 after halftime. The highlight of his performance was an 80-second span that featured four 3-pointers. Brown added a team-high 24 on 10-of-19 shooting in a loss Saturday to Norcross (Ga.).

The performances on such a big stage will undoubtedly help Brown on the recruiting trail.

“We told Alex coming in [Kennard] is being recruited by everyone and you can gauge where you are by playing against him,” said Mullins coach Mark Gerald, noting that the 6-foot-4 Brown was recently moved to guard because that’s the position he’ll play in college.

As Mullins’ tallest player, he’s also their best post player. “I talked to [Franklin coach Brian Bales] this morning, and he really respected how we played. And [Brown] definitely proved what he can do.”

Brown, who said before his Friday game that he’s expecting offers from East Carolina and Tennessee-Martin, has one more Beach Ball Classic game against Socastee to come on Tuesday.

Brown said he’s expecting to put up good numbers and find more colleges vying for his services by the end of the season, but that he’s more focused on his team winning this year.

“I just want to help my team to a state championship,” he said. “[The tournament] makes you play hard, though, especially when you’re trying to get a spot in college.”

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284 or Jeff Nowak at 444-1767.

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