Ex-Michigan State guard Allen considering USF
The day after former Florida center Kenny Kadji reportedly chose to transfer to Miami after visiting USF's campus Monday, Bulls coach Stan Heath is again in the mix for a high-profile transfer.
Chris Allen, a 6-foot-3 rising senior guard at Michigan State who was part of the Spartans' back-to-back Final Four teams, was dismissed by coach Tom Izzo on Tuesday after he failed to meet "multiple obligations" he needed to remain with the team. "I know he's going to be a great player," Izzo said in a statement. "He deserves another chance to play basketball somewhere, but it's in everyone's interest that it be somewhere other than Michigan State."
USF and Heath, who was an assistant under Izzo from 1996-2001, have emerged as a possible choice for Allen, who would have to sit out the upcoming season and play his final year in 2011-12. Allen's coach at Meadowcreek High in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Ga., Billy Davis, said Wedneday night that he has talked with Allen, who has expressed to him interest in three schools: USF, St. John's and Georgia.
"A lot of coaches have been calling me," said Davis, who said even Division II schools have been calling, trying to sell Allen on being able to play immediately and not sit out the year.
Davis said Allen doesn't mind sitting out a year to find the best situation for his final year of college basketball. Allen was a nationally coveted player coming out of high school, ranked by Rivals.com as the country's No. 5 shooting guard prospect. Davis said Allen is looking for a program with more of an uptempo style, and Heath's system would give him that.
Heath has a strong history with major-college transfers -- even without Allen, he will have four on his roster for the upcoming season: Anthony Crater (Ohio State), Gus Gilchrist (Maryland), Ron Anderson (Kansas State) and Victor Rudd (Arizona State). Allen's situation is similar to that of former Bulls guard Mike Mercer, who was dismissed from the team at Georgia but went to the Bulls with an endorsement from Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton.
Allen has about two weeks before fall classes start at USF, but complicating the process for him is the fact that he is enrolled in summer classes at Michigan State, which do not end until Aug. 19. That means he can only make campus visits on the weekends, and Heath and his team leave Sunday for a weeklong trip to Brazil to represent the United States in the Pan American University Championships.
USF has one unused scholarship available for the upcoming season, and Allen's shooting ability would give the Bulls another option at scoring guard, where all five of this year's players will be back in 2011-12. Allen averaged 8.2 points per game for Michigan State as a junior, hitting 39.8 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Jim Comparoni, a writer with Spartanmag.com, wrote on Twitter.com on Tuesday night that "I expect Chris Allen to transfer to South Florida. Izzo spoke with Stan Heath about Allen possibly moving on to USF last month. ... Allen will undoubtedly be approached by a number of schools. But I suspect, in the end, he will follow Izzo's advice and go with USF."