L-C's Allen thrives in a foreign land
Copyright of the Lewiston Morning
By MATT BANEY
OF THE TRIBUNE
During his two years at Lewis-Clark State, there have been times
when Danny Allen has gazed at the Lewiston Hill and asked himself,
"Does this really exist?" Having grown up in urban jungle of Dallas,
Allen was accustomed to living in the looming shadows cast by
But this natural skyline just seemed preposterous.
And yet here he is, studying and playing basketball in a place he
never expected to even visit.
This is certainly the most unlikely chapter in Allen's life. He
was born to a 13-year-old mother, then raised by his grandmother.
After a stellar prep career, he bounced through two junior colleges
before sitting out a year. And when there didn't seem to be any
other colleges lobbying for his talents, he found his way to LCSC.
Now that's preposterous.
On the court, Allen's Idaho sojourn has been a rousing success.
He became the Warriors' starting point guard last year and, this
season, leads them in scoring (14.2 ppg), assists (3.6) and minutes
played (31.0). With the 5-foot-10 senior at the controls, LCSC will
make its second consecutive appearance in the NAIA Division I
national tournament this week at Kansas City, Mo.
The hallmark of Allen's game is quickness. He can jitterbug past
almost any defender. And, on the other end, ballhandlers rarely
Actually, Allen's agility seems to overshadow his other talents.
He makes 47.3 percent of his 3-pointers, passes the ball with
reliable precision and has an uncanny knack for gobbling up long
"He's extremely -- to a fault some nights -- unselfish," L-C
coach George Pfeifer said. "But there have been many nights, during
a three- or four-minute spurt, that he has taken the game over."
Allen displayed his offensive prowess in the Warriors'
regular-season finale, an 84-82 overtime victory against
Montana-Western. He pumped in a career-high 32 points, connecting on
make-or-break 3-pointers late in regulation and OT.
The momentum from that triumph propelled L-C to its second
consecutive Frontier Conference tournament championship. Allen
clearly takes pride in those back-to-back titles.
"It's in Idaho and I'm from a long ways away," he acknowledged,
"but I've always got that."
So what has life been like off the court? So far from home, in a
place that seems like another world, Allen has endured plenty of
lonesome moments. He has often fought the impulse to flee for Texas.
"Every day -- every day," Allen said. "Last year was hard. I was
new and my attitude toward things wasn't great. Now I know how
things work and my attitude is more in check.
"It's way different. I love the West," he added. "There's -- I
don't know -- like a freedom out here. It's a lot more peaceful --
nothing like the city, where you have to worry about bums and kind
of bad people."
When Allen was growing up, his grandmother, Barbara Johnson, kept
him away from those unsavory elements. (Allen's three younger
brothers also spent part of their childhood in their grandmother's
care. "But he's the only one who still comes home right here,"
Johnson said in a telephone interview. "This is definitely his
Sports also helped. Allen excelled at both basketball and
football, but lost his nerve for the gridiron after momentarily
injuring his neck in a junior high practice.
At Dallas' Lincoln High, Allen was an all-state selection as a
senior, averaging 20.2 points, five assists and three steals. But
big-time colleges were scared away by his poor grades, Allen said.
He ended up going to Seminole State, a junior college in
Oklahoma. It was a culture shock for Allen, who had attended a
mostly black high school. "It was like going back in time 15 years,"
The next year, he returned to Texas and enrolled at San Jacinto
in Houston. His stellar play once again drew the attention of
recruiters, but he wasn't able to complete his junior college
degree, making him ineligible for NCAA Division I play.
So with his options dried up, he returned to his grandmother's
house. That's when LCSC began recruiting him.
"I didn't care where it was, I just wanted to get out of my
situation where I was," Allen said. "I just wanted to make the most
out of the chances I had."
Although the valley isn't his natural habitat, this experience
has broadened his view of the world. Meanwhile, Allen thinks of his
brothers, who have never strayed far from home.
"I got a chance to do a lot of traveling, and that's all they
know -- the neighborhood where they're at," he said. "I guess it's
all on me to show them there's a different life."
Allen probably won't complete his degree by the end of this
semester, but said he will attend summer school at L-C.
But first he will give professional basketball a shot -- either
overseas or in a small-time American league. He and some of the
other Warriors were recently invited to a camp in Utah that will be
attended by pro scouts.
His goals beyond that are somewhat vague.
"The biggest thing is giving back to the kids," Allen said. "When
I was coming up, I was looking up to guys who I thought were the
"That's the biggest thing with me," he added. "I'm not really a
greedy guy. I'm just happy with whatever God blesses me with on a
Baney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org