The Vegas Duo: Allen Twins Ready for Ballislife All-American Game
When the high school basketball season started in Southern Nevada, Bishop Gorman was in the front running to win the state title, as they often are, but this year there was a new name gunning to dethrone the reigning state champs, the Centennial Bulldogs. The articles, tweets and analysis would pour in from local journalists, scouts and basketball affiliates all around the valley as the season got underway, and right away it was evident that if the Bulldogs weren’t playing in the last game of the season, their season would be a failure. After losing to Palo Verde in the playoffs last season, Centennial was hungry to make it back and knock the chip off their shoulder and leading them there were a pair of leaders known as the Allen twins.
The twins, a pair of lengthy guards with excellent basketball IQ’s, were successful in bringing the Bulldogs to the spotlight in the post season and even managed to maneuver them into the state championship game where they were over powered by a dominant Bishop Gorman squad lead by Noah Robotham, Rashad Muhammad and top 2015 big man, Stephen Zimmerman. But it wasn’t a complete failure for the twins; they put Centennial on the map, showed that they’re able to compete with national names and earned themselves a spot in the third annual Ballislife All-American game. Malcolm and Marcus exemplified leadership, dominance and freakish athleticism throughout the course of their high school career and it paid dividends, not only with a college scholarship to continue their careers, but when they got a text message from their old AAU coach.
“Etop just texted me and asked if I wanted to join this event,” Marcus said. “My parents already knew about it and I was pretty ecstatic. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I watched last year, guys like Gabe York and people like that in the game and it was crazy. I’m looking forward to it.
The difference between their junior year and the point the twins are at now has been plethoric in every aspect and it started with their mentality leading up to the season, their workouts with Impact Academy and their ability to step up and take control:
“It was all confidence,” Marcus said. “I think last year we weren’t as tight knit group of a team. This year we had a lot of senior leadership with Austin Turley, Malcolm and myself. We didn’t care about stats; we didn’t care about who did this and who did that.”
“Yeah and we started off kind of slow at the beginning of the season but we turned it around mid way after our tournament in Chicago,” Malcolm said. “It was a humbling experience. After that, we just carried it over and playing like we should have the whole season. We had those four tough loses to Gorman, but we were pretty much the only team that could compete with them.”
And compete they did. The Bulldogs played the Gaels of Gorman a total of four times and while all four resulted in loses, they produced some of the most entertaining and aggressive games Vegas saw all year with one of the games on Gorman’s senior night going into double over time. But the twins aren’t quick to say that going 0-4 to Gorman was a failure, they new what the challenge was going to be like before they even stepped out on the court:
“First of all, our goal was to put Centennial on the map, that’s been our goal since freshman year, but the biggest thing that we learned was that you need to play smart,” Marcus said. “If you don’t have the same tools that the other team has you have to play smart and learn how to out smart them. Every possession counts when you’re playing a team like Gorman because they capitalize on all of your mistakes. You really have to find your teammates and trust them a lot when you’re playing teams like that.”
“And when you’re outmatched like that, going against a 7’ kid, it’s hard but you give it your all and play hard, trying to limit mistakes and turnovers,” Malcolm said. “A few things went our way but we didn’t get the job done and we’ll use that as motivation and be ready for next year at Stanford.”
From early in their basketball careers, Malcolm and Marcus made it known that wherever they would be going to college; they were a package deal and would find a way to be in the same place together. That wasn’t a problem at all for the twins because when the time came they both knew there was only one place that could be home after high school for them, Stanford.
“Obviously [Stanford] is just an awesome academic institution and it’s in the PAC-12 Conference so it’s like the best of both worlds,” Malcolm said. “You can’t really go wrong with Stanford. Plus, our mom went there so I thought it was the perfect fit for both Marcus and me to succeed. Plus, we’ve been attending their camp since we were in 7th or 8th grade, so we grew up with that coaching staff and around Stanford. So it really wasn’t like an ultimate decision, we kind of knew where we wanted to go since 6th or 7th grade so by the time we were ready to commit it was pretty much a done deal on where we wanted to go.”
With heavy ties to the prestigious school, the Allen twins had no doubt in their minds it was the right place to go for more than just one reason. When it came down to it, they made about as educated of a decision as you could, not just for recognition in the college basketball world or to compete in a major division one program, but to ready themselves for levels beyond college both physically and mentally:
“The coaching staff really emphasizes player development and that’s big for Malcolm and me and our mom and dad, as well,” Marcus said. “I want to go to college and continue to progress and get better in college not just plateau and stop. But they’re all about player development; and of course, the campus is beautiful and the academic standard is awesome. Getting that meaningful degree is huge for me. Plus, I’ve been around Stanford because of our mom since I was, like, five; going to her alumni events and stuff like that so it was always a dream to go to Stanford and play basketball at the same time and I get to go with my twin so it was a win-win situation.”
With the twin’s future set in stone for the next four years there’s only one other piece of business to take care of before they head off to be Cardinals for the next four years, solidify themselves in Ballislife history by leaving their mark in the All-American game.
“Being able to play with somebody I already played AAU with again to end my high school career will be awesome,” Marcus said. “The dunk contest and three-point contest will be a great time with the guys and going to Disneyland and of course the game’s going to be a good time. It’s going to be a great weekend with all of the guys so I’m really excited.”
“Yeah, honestly, I’m looking forward to hanging out with the other players,” Malcolm said. “I know most of them and they’re a good group of guys and just get on the court and finally play with them will be fun.”
Finally, while concluding a little Q&A with the Vegas standouts, I asked if either one of them would like to do the three-point and/or dunk contest. After a couple of laughs and a few minutes of Marcus egging Malcolm on by saying, “Well, you know, I think Malcolm should do the dunk contest, I think he should. He has some tricks up his sleeve; he can do a few things with the ball. I think he should do it. You know, and show off how bouncy he is,” Malcolm chuckled, saying, “Yeah, I’ll do the dunk contest, man.
With one dunk contestant on the list, who else will join him? Come out to Long Beach to watch the dunk contest on May 4th and find out.
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