Peyton Allen’s week is full of transcripts, applications, forms and apartment hunting. Change schools in late July and things move quickly.
Allen, a 6-foot-5 guard from Springfield, Ill., committed to Wichita State’s basketball team on Saturday, the second day of his visit. He spent his freshman season at Texas A&M and decided to transfer in search of a better basketball fit. Less than 24 hours at WSU sold him.
“I made my decision late and it’s been hectic,” he said. “I had to finish up class (at Texas A&M) and get the process going.”
Allen planned to visit Butler, Drake, Northwestern and Illinois State. He canceled those plans after visiting WSU, even though it couldn’t offer him a scholarship because all 13 are filled. Allen said he will walk on for the 2015-16 season and redshirt before receiving a scholarship for his final three seasons of eligibility.
“After I went to Wichita State, I had seen all I needed to see,” he said. “I felt like it was a perfect fit. Coach (Gregg) Marshall’s system flattered me. I think I can be similar to Ron Baker in the future if I keep working hard and go off what Coach Marshall says.”
Allen also loved Wichita’s reputation for loving basketball. He liked many things about Texas A&M, including the coaches, but wanted to play at a place where basketball mattered more.
“The basketball school is appealing to me,” he said. “At A&M, it was mostly a football school, and even baseball. It’s all basketball (at WSU) and that’s all this city cares about.”
Allen (202 pounds) started eight games and played 32, averaging 14.1 minutes, 4.5 points and 0.8 rebounds as a freshman. He made 49 of 129 shots and 30 of 93 three-pointers (32.3 percent). He scored a season-high 16 points against New Orleans and scored 14 against College of Charleston, 13 against Alabama and 12 against Missouri.
Allen said WSU’s ball-screen offense will play to his strengths.
“They can play a lot of guards,” he said. “We talked to Coach Marshall about that, and they’re going to utilize more ball screens. I can make a pass. I can drive to the basket. I can shoot off the ball screens. That’s something that appealed to me.”
While Allen said he felt limited to the role of shooting specialist at A&M, he wants to show he can score in a variety of ways.
“They didn’t get to see him handle it,” said Andre McMurray, coach of the Southwestern Illinois Jets, a summer team. “He’s a really good ball-handler. The kid is a player. He did everything for his high school.”
Allen looks forward to a season watching and learning from Baker, forward Evan Wessel and point guard Fred VanVleet. In 2016-17, he will step into their roles in the backcourt. Losing Baker and VanVleet will test the Shockers. Allen, sophomore Conner Frankamp and freshman Landry Shamet offer the potential to ease that transition into a new era of Wichita State’s backcourt.
“(Defense) definitely has to improve,” he said. “I need to become a better athlete, working with the strength coach. My ball-handling can improve. I definitely want to get in top shape, to come off ball screens, play defense, play a full game.”
At Glenwood High, he averaged 25.3 points and 6.4 rebounds as a senior and earned All-State honors from the Associated Press and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com ranked him a three-star recruit in high school.