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March 31, 2013

Florida wing's work pays off

It's amazing what can happen in just a year. This time 12 months ago, Grayson Allen wasn't even a big name in his home state. Now, he's heading into the grassroots season as one of the hottest names in the class of 2014.

Thanks to a big outing last summer and a huge junior season, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence has ascended to No. 32 in the national rankings and earned several scholarships.

"This time last year, going into the summer, I think I had maybe two scholarship offers," Allen told Rivals.com. "I have a lot more now. It's a relief and a great honor to have all of these schools recruiting me.

"This summer, there is no pressure on me to play for scholarships."

While he's got scholarship offers in hand, Allen isn't taking things easy. He wants to increase his profile and show what he's capable of.

"I think that I have a versatile game," Allen said. "My biggest strength is getting to the rim, finishing in the lane and using my athleticism, which can surprise some people.

"Once people respect my driving, I can knock down some shots and then set up teammates as well."

As for those offers, Allen counts Florida State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, N.C. State, Missouri, Gonzaga, USF, Purdue and Stanford. Duke, Indiana and Kansas have been in recent touch.

"I'm probably going to cut things down either right before or right after April," Allen said. "I haven't decided yet. Hopefully down to less than 10."

Key in cutting down his list will be the playing styles and coaching staffs of the programs recruiting him.

"Ive been watching a lot of games this year and looking at style of play and seeing how I can fit in each system," Allen said. "I'm seeing how they use their guards. Also a big thing is being comfortable with the coaches, building a good relationship with the assistants and the head coaches because I'm going to be with them for four years."

Many have speculated that Allen will stay close to home. While he's open to leaving, he said a few of the locals are likely to stay on his list.

"I've thought about it a little bit," Allen said of staying home or leaving the Sunshine State. "I think it's safe to say Florida will be there when I cut it down and Florida State too. Being close to home isn't something I've really thought about. I mean I thought about it, but I don't think it's going to factor in my decision."

This summer, Allen will run with the Georgia-based Southern Stampede in Nike's EYBL. He's looking forward to a big summer and competing at the highest level.

"This summer in picking an AAU team I wanted to play against the best, so that's why I wanted to play in the EYBL," Allen said. "It's about getting out there and playing with the best players and winning."



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