Written by Corbett Smith
Kimball's Allen hoping to add third title in four state tourney appearances
D’Angelo Allen barely touched the court in his first appearance at the University Interscholastic League’s state basketball tournament.
Allen, then a freshman, got two trips to the scorer’s table in the semifinal and final, playing less than two minutes as Kimball won the 2011 Class 4A state title.
Yet, those precious seconds on the court of Austin’s Frank Erwin Center made an indelible impression.
“To be honest, it was a great experience — but I was nervous,” Allen said. “Touching the floor, my body was shaking at the same time, because I didn’t know that Coach would play me.”
Now a senior, Allen will be one of a rare few in UIL history to play in four consecutive state tournaments. Kimball (23-7) won state titles in 2011 and 2012, and lost in heartbreaking fashion last season to Rosenberg Terry, 55-47. Kimball led by as many as 16 points, but went scoreless for the final 2:36, as Terry went on a 7-0 run.
“If he had won last year, he’d have been battling with Erin Grant,” Kimball coach Royce “Snoop” Johnson said. Grant won four girls titles at Mansfield from 1999 to 2002. “I don’t know any guys to win it four years in a row. One thing that got us here is consistency. That’s the main thing.”
Johnson said that Allen’s versatility has been a key to Kimball’s success. Each season Allen has been asked for something different: rebounding, defense and spot-up shooting.
“So you could plug him in,” Johnson said. “He’s going to be a kid that can play immediately at every level, because of his size and his ability to be team-first.”
A three-star forward — contemplating offers from Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Minnesota and Auburn — the 6-7 Allen recently broke Acie Law IV’s school record for career starts, passing the mark in his final district game against North Dallas. Along with South Carolina transfer Jawun Evans, Allen has been one of Kimball’s offensive stalwarts, averaging 13.3 points and 10.2 rebounds.
“In the middle of the year, my teammate Dondre Carter, he told me and Jawun, ‘Let’s go get this money,’” Allen said. “Let’s go get this. It’s special this time because we did it.”
If Kimball can manage to get past Beaumont Central (31-4) in Thursday’s semifinal, Allen will play in four consecutive title games. It’s a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since South Oak Cliff’s 6-11 center J’mison Morgan played on four straight 4A champions from 2005 to 2008 (SOC’s titles from 2005 and 2006 were later stripped for grade tampering).
And it would allow Allen to rectify two sub-par performances in the final; despite being one of Kimball’s better scorers the previous two seasons, behind McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier, Allen went 0-for-15 from the field in the two championship games.
“I’ve slipped up — because I didn’t get any buckets,” Allen said. “So, I feel like I have to get a W in that field house.”