If you can’t tell, that’s 7-0 Jahlil Okafor he’s jumping over.
Grayson Allen, the 6-4, 195-pound Jacksonville, Florida, product and soon-to-be Duke freshman, won the Powerade Jam Fest with this display of his incredible leaping ability.
I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes, Allen is indeed an excellent shooter. But to make the easy comparison to former Duke player J.J. Redick would be unjust; Allen has hops. After speaking with Allen, one thing became clear to me: no matter what kind of outlandish displays Allen puts on in college, he’ll never be J.J. Redick because it is impossible to hate Grayson Allen. (And anyone outside of Durham, North Carolina, loathed J.J. Redick.)
Allen is a combo guard capable of running the offense or carrying the scoring load. An excellent passer, Allen can be borderline too unselfish; he’s almost always looking to get his teammates involved. When he does look to score the ball, he does so running off of screens, or is capable of creating his own shot.
Allen took some time to answer a few questions on the eve of Wednesday’s McDonald’s All-American Game.
*** *** ***
Dime: You’re about my height, how are you capable of winning the dunk contest while I can barely get off the ground?
Grayson Allen: (Laughs) I think it’s a little bit of creativity and a little bit of me being blessed with athletic ability. You know, maybe a little bit of craziness being thrown in there as well, having the idea to jump over Jahlil.
Dime: What was going through your head as you were doing that? Do you think anybody expected that?
GA: I definitely don’t think people expected that; to be honest I was a little nervous when I saw him. It was different when we were talking about it and then actually seeing a seven-footer standing underneath the rim. I was a little nervous, but with the crowd cheering me on and the adrenaline I did it.
Dime: What was the deciding factor on choosing Duke for you?
GA: When I was in ninth grade I kind of said that Duke was going to be my dream school, and then when I was going through the recruiting process and it became a little more realistic I kind of looked into it and did a little research and I really thought it was going to be the perfect fit for me as well. Just academically and being able to play for one of the greatest coaches of all time, and playing for a winning program is up there. You know, I want to compete and I want to win.
Dime: I saw Coach Wojo (Steve Wojciechowski) just took the Marquette job. Was he a part of the recruiting process for you?
GA: Yeah, he was kind of the main person who recruited me. I always liked talking to him; I liked him a lot just because of how honest he was with me through the whole recruiting process. So, it is kind of sad to see him leave the Duke program, it’s kind of a loss. But I see him doing great things at Marquette and he’ll be a great fit there.