A Michigan State Star, A Dynamic Duo and One Brave Female Player: The Stars of Red Bull Midnight Run Atlanta Speak to Dime

06.23.13 6 years ago
Last weekend Red Bull Midnight Run came to Atlanta. [Check out the best dunks and highlights here] The gym was packed with ball players of all different types. There was a good group of big men, but the guard play was unbelievable. Spencer Dixon and Brian Fisher (two high school teammates that ended up playing overseas together) put on a show with their lights out shooting. Their team went undefeated for the entire night. Former Michigan State Spartan Chris Allen was clearly in a class of his own athletically. He quickly proved to be one of the top players in the gym. And Lakiesha Sutton, the first girl to ever play in the Red Bull Midnight Run, was locking cats up and draining threes all night long. We caught up with all of them to talk about their experience at the Midnight Run and learn about their basketball past, present and futures.

Chris Allen:

Dime: For people who aren’t familiar with you, tell us about your playing experience.
Chris Allen: I played 3 years at Michigan State. Made two Final Fours. Played in the National Championship game. Won two Big Ten Championships. I transferred to Iowa State for my senior year. We made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, lost to Kentucky. After my college career I went and played in Israel for awhile and now I’m back here.

Dime: Tell me more about your college career. What are some challenges you faced at Michigan State and what made you decide to transfer?

CA: See it was real structured up there. My style of play I gotta be able to freelance and play a little bit. For me to be at my best I have to be able to do my thing a little bit. I felt that the system that was in place was limiting my abilities. So the coach and I decided it was best for me to move on. So I moved on to Iowa State, and did my thing.

Dime: Were you thinking about the NBA at all after college?

CA: I had a few NBA looks but it didn’t workout so I went overseas to Israel and did my thing over there. I averaged 15 in the top league in Israel against a plethora of good players so it worked out well for me. There were a bunch of college guys, old NBA players, Iverson played a couple games in our league. So it was crazy man.

Dime: So do you think you were too talented to stay at Michigan State?

CA: Oh not at all. I definitely won’t say I was too talented for the school. It’s just that my style of play didn’t match the system and there was a lot of head butting going on. With two stubborn people it’s hard to find that middle ground sometimes.

Dime: Did you face any challenges overseas in Israel? Was it hard adjusting to the European game?

CA: Basketball is basketball for the most part. It was a bit tough to get used to it but I just went out there and played my game man I wasn’t worried about having to adjust to the European game. I always felt that my game could translate to that type of setting if they let me play the way I’m used to.

Dime: What’s the next step for you? You think you’ll be back in Europe again or over here in the D-League? What’s next for Chris Allen?

CA: I’m actually already on a team for the D-League next year, so that’s my last option. I’m really just trying to focus on the next level right now. The NBA is my ultimate goal and it’s been looking attainable. I’ve been having some really good workouts and my agent is working with me so it’s going pretty good.

Dime: So what made you want to be a part of the Red Bull Midnight Run?

CA: Well at first I thought it was just going to be a pick up type of thing. You know. People coming out and playing pick up with other good players in Atlanta so of course I wanted to be a part of that. I consider myself one of the best players in the city so whenever it’s time to put my game to the test I’m all for it. Then after I got here I figured out it was more to it and that made it even better. It brought the competition out of me a little bit so it’s great to be a part of the whole thing man.

Dime: Do you think Atlanta has the talent to compete against the other cities?

CA: Definitely. If you’ve ever played basketball on a high level you know what to expect. I know we looked pretty good in the gym today, but the same way it was here is how it’s going to be in other cities. Other cities are going to have guys that have played overseas and D1 too, so I don’t wanna say we’re better than anybody, but it’s gonna be fun trying to prove that on the court.

Dime: What do you think you can bring to the table for the Atlanta team?

CA: I think I can offer a lot to the table. Whatever the team needs me to do I’m willing to do it. I can shoot, dribble, pass, play defense. I’m confident in my abilities across the table so I’m ready to see how we stack up against the other competition. I just enjoy playing basketball simple as that.

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