Speaking on Baltimore’s WNST radio, Allen addressed the questions many have wondered since the abrupt and surprising choice, chief among them why a guard slated to log more than 30 minutes per game next season, an electric offensive weapon who arrived in College Park as Coach Mark Turgeon’s first signed recruit, a bubbly personality seemingly loved by fans, would decide to leave.
“It was a hard decision to make because it’s a long process,” Allen said. “It’s a risky process. If you feel in your gut that you’re not in the right spot, you can pray all you want, you can pray to God all you want, but you’re not going to hear an automated voice saying, ‘Maryland’s not the right spot.’ You know what I mean? It’s up to you. You can do whatever you want, but you have to really think and weigh the factors in. For me, it was hard. It’s more than basketball for me. Leaving here, I told you I love College Park, but it’s just something that I think is going to be good for me and my family. It’s going to be something better, where I can be focused and everything.”
For most of the interview, Allen referred to Maryland as “we” and “us,” speaking at length about the teammates and coaching staff he will leave behind. As for the true reason, Allen declined to say, but began crossing possible motives off the list.
“I’m not here to badmouth the program,” he said. “Just for me personally, it didn’t fit me. It wasn’t for me and a lot of people think I’m leaving because of pressure and this and that. It’s not that. I was going to start and I was going to play probably 35 minutes a game. It’s more than basketball. I don’t want to say too much. I just everybody to realize that the decisions I make were my own and I did it for me and my family.”
The biggest factor, it seemed, was that Allen holds NBA aspirations and acknowledged that being a 6-foot-tall shooting guard likely won’t help him reach those goals. With highly touted freshman Melo Trimble arriving on campus June 2, Allen would have moved to shooting guard, playing spot minutes at point guard whenever Trimble needed a breather.
Maryland restricted Allen from choosing a Big Ten school as his next spot, a source said, but he is free to look anywhere else. Virginia has shown interest, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation, but it is expected that Allen will generate high-major interest across the board.
“This is the last school I’m going to pick, so I don’t’ want to go 100 miles per hour,” he said. “I think I’m going to announce it maybe in the next week or two. I’m not 100 percent sure yet, but as far as that goes, I don’t want to go 100 miles per hour. People will hear soon.”
Some other snippets from Allen’s interview, which lasted just more than 16 minutes:
On his next landing spot: “Part of it is, my foot is still not 100 percent healthy. I came back early because the team needed me. Sitting out last year was a question, but my team was struggling at the point and I really thought I could come in and make an impact. In the long run, is it going to hurt me? Who knows. My foot gets sore. But I did it for the team because I love Maryland. They’re my brothers still.”
On rumors that forward Charles Mitchell has also considered transferring: “[Charles Mitchell] Chuck is like my brother, he’s my roommate. He’s probably five feet away from me right now. I just woke up, so I don’t know where he’s at. I don’t have any inside information on him. His decision is his decision. And just like me, Nick [Faust], Roddy [Peters], Shaq [Cleare], he has to make a decision that’s best for him. Whether that’s here or somewhere else, Charles Mitchell has to make that decision for himself.”
On positives about Maryland: “Maryland’s going to be fine. Coach Turgeon’s a great coach. He knows what he’s doing. Maryland, if one player goes they don’t go. I know a lot of players went, but they’re bringing in some good players that they’ll be good in the long run. It’s going to be hard to start at first, but Maryland will be good. What’s good about Maryland is the fans. Maryland probably has some of the best fans in the world. We won a lot of games here at Comcast because of the fans. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
On the Big Ten factoring into his decision: “It played a little role. It was going to be different. It wasn’t big, though. The Big Ten is a great conference. They’ve got Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Ohio State. They have good teams. It’s just, you’re not going to be playing against the Dukes and North Carolinas, like you said. We won’t play against Virginia and N.C. State, all the ACC schools. But you’re still going to play against a great school, a great program, and it’s going to be different. In the ACC, I can speak for my teammates, we pretty much know every player. We know who we’re going to play against, what we’re doing. The scouting report is just to refresh your memory, but you know. In the Big Ten, it’s going to be different. They’re going to have to buckle down and focus.”
On running Turgeon’s secondary-break system: “The secondary-break offense is great. But for the secondary-break offense, you have to have a lot of things. For it to be successful, you have to have a lot of things. For it to be successful, you have to have low-post scoring. You have to have a dominant big who can run the floor and be a threat when you throw it in to take pressure off the guards. Also, you have to have somebody … the secondary-break offense doesn’t have a set point guard. It’s not you’re the point guard, you’re the point guard. It opens it up, so the one, two and three could get the ball on the break and start the secondary break. It gives a chance for all three positions to score. The thing with that is, when you’re running the secondary-break offense, somebody coming out of the corner or coming off a down screen, or a pin-down, it’s so hard to guard that you have to be patient with it. If you rush a secondary-break offense, it crumbles and you have nothing.
“It can get crowded, but the way we do it is, we make it a four-out, one-in, so there’s always one big outside of the paint. The other big is always the opposite block. If you’re driving, their job is to get away from your driving and find the open spots, so if there is help you can dump it down. It was great my freshman year. Sometimes the secondary break was just throw it to Alex [Len]. But you lose that low-post scoring. Not to knock our big guys, but Alex was great. Our guys are working every day. Damonte Dodd, he’s going to be great, Charles Mitchell. We’ve got two other bigs coming in. I don’t know what Maryland’s going to do for the secondary break, but they should be great.”
On whether he plans to divulge exactly why he transferred: “It’s nothing big. I’m telling you guys a lot. My parents taught me to be humble and never to burn bridges. I never wanted to leave on the wrong foot. With my departure, I just want everybody in College Park to know that I appreciate everything they’ve done, all the support they gave me. I wish nothing but the best for them. I hope they can do the same thing for me.”