The pickup games at North Carolina-Wilmington begin around 1 p.m. and go until whenever.
On days when he has to lift weights, which are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Kadeem Allen is there. On the days when he doesn’t lift, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Allen is also there.
And he’s there on the weekends, too.
There’s little time at home to waste this summer for Hutchinson Community College’s 6-foot-3 sophomore guard and the reigning Jayhawk West MVP.
“I’ve got so much to work on,” Allen said. “Ball handling, getting stronger, shooting jumpers ... we’re going to be able to run the floor better this year, so I’ve got to be ready for that.
“I was really disappointed with how last year ended. I think about it a lot because I thought we could have done a lot more.”
The Blue Dragons lost to Howard in the first round of the NJCAA Tournament in March — their first trip to nationals in 16 years.
Allen has been back in his hometown of Wilmington since school got out in the middle of May and staying with his mother, Bernadette, while he prepares for a junior-college showcase at St. Louis in July and fields an increasingly growing list of offers from Division I schools.
Allen, who can play either guard spot, made news earlier this month with his latest offer, from Arizona and coach Sean Miller. Arizona joins Kansas State, Marquette, Nebraska, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Indiana and Miami (Fla.) in his recruitment.
Allen averaged 17.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a freshman.
“I don’t have anything narrowed down or a top five,” Allen said. “Since school’s been out, I’ve just been in the gym every day and that’s where my focus has been. It’s been kind of weird with a little bit more attention, but it’s also been a really good thing for me. My friends and family are happy for me and I’m still working hard, still motivated.”
Allen and Hutchinson coach Steve Eck stay in regular contact while he’s back home — academically, there was no need for Allen to be in summer school and the competition level of the pickup games in Wilmington, where Allen played his first three years at Michael Jordan’s alma mater, Laney High, is a higher level then he would face in Hutchinson.
“We talk or text once or twice a week,” Eck said. “I don’t need to bother him too much during his break, he texts me to see how things are going, I tell him to keep working hard. Just stuff like that.”
Eck hasn’t been resting on his laurels, either. Fresh off his first Region VI title, he’s been stockpiling talent in Hutchinson to surround Allen.
Darrick Wood, a 6-4 shooting guard who once committed to St. John’s, transferred to Hutchinson in January. More importantly, Eck may have found a replacement for forward Alex Davis, who transferred to Fresno State, in 6-7 freshman forward Deshawn Freeman.
Freeman, from Rocky Mount, N.C., averaged 19.9 points and 8.2 rebounds his senior season at Rocky Mount Prep and had offers from VCU, George Mason, Georgia Southern, North Carolina-Wilmington and Appalachian State before academics brought him to Hutchinson, where he’s currently in summer school.
“I think we’re going to be a different team next year,” Allen said. “We’ll need to play harder and play better.”