March 18, 2011

All for one, one for all Allen

Kevin McCarthy

Noah (apparently no last name) gathered up animals by twos after working with wood to construct an ark. Noah Allen, on the other hand, prefers a mix of threes with his twos but also performs his craft on hardwood. Yes, the Palma High guard can certainly flood opponents with points—over 18 a game in this just completed season—but he takes just as much, if not more, pride in his role of teammate and student.

photo of Noah Allen

Asked about his best basketball skills, Allen quickly responded with "sharing the ball, getting my teammates the ball." Further displaying his humility, he answered what he is working on to improve by saying "pretty much everything, my defense, my ballhandling and bringing intensity everyday." Though just a sophomore, he emits the mature sense of seeing the big picture and understanding he is a spoke in the wheel.

Bay Area Hoosier Director of Basketball Operations Philippe Doherty concurs. "Noah is an outstanding kid who has been raised correctly and who has a very good head on his shoulders. He's a mature kid who will flourish in college." Hoosier Head Coach and Director Rob Jones resides in that same camp. "He is a very humble young man who is very mature. Noah's family has done an amazing job raising him with great core values."

Allen also plays football for the Chieftains -- wide receiver and safety -- but it's hoops where his heart resides. "Basketball is my passion," he explained. Although he didn't stress it himself, the classroom is another arena of his application and strong performance. "I have a 4.3 grade point average." Here's Jones again: "Noah does extremely well in the classroom and takes pride in every aspect of his life. Overall, he is a well-rounded student-athlete."

photo of Noah Allen shooting

Queried about describing Allen the player, Jones offered, "He is very skilled and athletic and he plays multiple positions. Noah has a great stroke from three, but his mid-range game is exceptional. He also does a great job of breaking down his defender and creating shots for himself and his teammates. He is a competitor who plays with great confidence, energy and unselfishness. Noah is only a sophomore but I believe he will play somewhere in college -- the level, only time will tell. He has a ton of potential and he really works hard at getting better."

Ditto for Doherty on his protege: "Noah has a great frame and great size for his position and he possesses one of the most important skills in basketball -- the ability to shoot. Off-the-bounce or off-the-catch, Noah simply can put the ball in the basket. He has the ability to rebound on both ends of the floor which could really add to his game as a shooting guard. Also, Noah has the ability to defend but it needs to be a mind set. If Noah was a tad more aggressive and confident, he would really be hard to stop. However, Noah has always been unselfish and a team player and sometimes does not want to upset teammates but with his skill set, he needs to be in attack and aggressive mode at all times. He is somewhat like an Allan Houston of the New York Knicks, a very skilled two guard who had the ability to score, but at the same time get others involved. Noah will be a prototypical #2 guard in college who will be able to score in a variety of ways."

Bay Area Hoosier CEO Aalim A. Moor II said of Allen, "I've had the opportunity to see a lot of good players come and go over the years and Noah is definitely one of the most intriguing to me. He's a perfect blend of scholar and athlete on and off the court. His whole approach to the game is predicated on his ability to think the game. When you watch him closely on the court, you can see him analyzing every aspect of the game. He seems to have a "sixth sense" or clairvoyance on the floor, always knowing where everybody is or is going to be, especially with his ability to pass the ball and find open teammates. He's a leader out there in every sense of the word. After getting to know his Dad (Hubert) and his wonderful family, I see where he gets it all from. Coach [Paul] Alioto has done a wonderful job with him at Palma and made it really easy for us to add that special Hoosier touch. We're very fortunate to have Noah and his wonderful family as a part of our program."

Alioto also lauds his underclassmen: "Noah is a very skilled offensive player -- one who can shoot, dribble and pass equally well. He has improved every year he has been at Palma and I would expect that to continue again this year as he is a very diligent worker and really wants to be a great player and leader. As a two year varsity starter, he now knows what it takes to lead his team to a championship. On top of being an all-league and all-county player, Noah is a great student too."

The desire to be part of something bigger also plays into Allen's future plans. "I want to coach. It looks like fun and I like to help people out."

He recalls his best basketball moment not as a particular game or any personal record but "when I went to the Stanford camp. The atmosphere, the tradition and the academics are great." Take note Johnny Dawkins.

Composing this piece offered the opportunity to sense that in the realm of basketball, and more importantly away from it, this young man has the vision and heart possessed by few, plus the drive necessary to realize his goals.