LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Dontaie Allen is staying put and never considering transferring from the University of Kentucky.
Although Allen could have made a move after his first two seasons with the Wildcats, the former Pendleton County High School standout and Kentucky Mr. Basketball is focused on climbing the proverbial ladder.
“I pride myself in being a hard worker, so I looked at it like what do I have to add to my regimen to get better,” he said. “I’m not a quitter by any means so in coming back for this season it’s just been about improving my game to be a big contributor on this team.”
Allen is coming off one of his most productive seasons at Kentucky. He scored a season-high 23 points twice, giving Allen more confidence going into his third season with the Wildcats. He played in four of the team’s first six games before breaking out with a 23-point performance in a win on the road at Mississippi State. He also scored 23 in a loss to the Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference Tournament as Kentucky ended with a 9-16 record.
“I think the big thing with me was I was just playing my game,” Allen said. “A lot of things could distract to certain people in that position, but me, I just kept my head down and kept working.”
Allen now says his confidence is higher and has been working on becoming a consistent player next season.
“At the end of the day it comes down to confidence,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t say I was lacking confidence, but I think it’s something I’ve worked on all summer and I’m going to be more than great in my eyes this coming season in all aspects of my game.”
Allen has enjoyed getting to know his future teammates during the past two weeks as the Wildcats have circled the state making appearances in a satellite camp. Unlike last season, the camps have given Allen and his teammates time to bond on and off the court.
“We’re already having a lot of fun together,” he said. “We’ve been able to scrimmage a little bit and some of the guys have spent time playing video games, pool and ping pong games with each other. There’s just a whole different feel compared to the way things were last year.”
Allen also likes the makeup of the current squad and added “there’s going to be a lot of nice pieces on this team.”
“A lot of guys have already gotten better and we’ve added some guys who can really shoot the ball and do other things,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard to improve some parts of my game like ball handling but the main thing is just confidence."
More than ever, Allen is determined to finishing out the remainder if his career on a high note.
"I'm looking forward to showing my whole game next season," he said. "I’m determined to be great here.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.