For Jamel Allen, the end was just the beginning.
Just two days after the dynamic 6-6 Brentwood senior scored 40 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots in the last game of his high school career, Iona College and its coach, Tim Cluess, offered a full scholarship and Allen verbally committed on Thursday morning.
“They know what kind of quality player they are getting,” Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez told Newsday. “This happened quickly. I thought Jamel might take more time. A lot of schools showed interest but Jamel took what he believes is a sure thing.”
At Iona, Allen will play for Cluess of Floral Park, the former coach at St. Mary’s High School, Suffolk CCC-Brentwood and LIU Post. “Iona came to our high school during the February break and spoke to Jamel and the coaches,” Jimenez said. “I think it’s a possibility that Jamel committed now because Iona showed so much interest.”
The Gaels are getting a small forward whose game grew exponentially during his high school career. Once primarily a high-flying dunker, Allen added a reliable three-point shot, myriad low-post moves and improved ball-handling. He averaged 19.7 points for Brentwood, which lost in the Suffolk AA final to Half Hollow Hills West on Tuesday night, ending the Indians’ two-year reign as Suffolk and Long Island AA champions.
Allen dazzled in his finale. “It was a magnificent performance against the better team. They tried three or four guys to stop him and he still found a way to get off his shot,” Jimenez marveled. “He was 100 percent on fire. It was the performance of a lifetime, the best I’ve ever seen.”