Dakarai Allen The senior guard-wing led short-handed Sheldon to the championship of the Valley-CRC Summer Challenge.

Prep notes: Allen takes leadership role on Sheldon basketball team

Published: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012 - 12:17 am

Sheldon High School impressively cruised past area power Antelope and defending CIF NorCal Division III boys basketball champion Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco in last weekend's Valley-CRC Summer Challenge.

Granted, it's summer hoops, and most teams don't have all their pieces for various reasons.

But even with three key players out with injuries, including returning Bee Player of the Year D'Erryl Williams, Sheldon was on cruise control for most of the tournament, including its 66-49 victory over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the title game at Cosumnes River College. Plenty of credit for that goes to senior guard-wing Dakarai Allen.

A four-year varsity performer, the long and lean Allen set the tone with his marvelous all-around play, grit and leadership.

The 6-foot-5 Allen sees himself as a mentor to the younger players, especially freshman varsity hopefuls Devin Greene and Ian Miller, and very much wants to lead the Huskies to an unprecedented Sac-Joaquin Section Division I four-peat and a return trip to the CIF state D-I final.

Allen remembers being in Greene's and Miller's hightops four years ago as a wide-eyed role player to then-Sheldon stars Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton.

"I keep after them," Allen said of Greene and Miller. "I want to hold them accountable and to maintain the Sheldon legacy just as Darius Nelson and Ramon Eaton trained me."

Allen already has a half-dozen scholarship offers, including from San Diego State, Saint Mary's and Colorado. He expects to get more offers as he performs later this summer in major national Amateur Athletic Union tournaments with his Play Hard, Play Smart club team.

Allen, rated the sixth-best senior in Northern California by NorCalPreps.com, has built his reputation on his defensive abilities and is a terrific player in the open court and slashing to the basket.

Recruiters are considering whether he can score outside consistently, something Sheldon coach Joey Rollings doesn't question.

"He's got a good shot, but a lot of times he chooses not to shoot, instead looking to pass and to make assists," Rollings said.

One thing is certain. Few players will outwork Allen. While playing for Sheldon and Play Hard, Play Smart, Allen often trains up to six hours a day. He credits Ron Nelson, the father of Darius and ex-Duke standout DeMarcus Nelson, for keeping him motivated to improve.

"It gets real tiring, but if I'm not at a workout, coach Ron will be calling me to see if I'm needing a ride," said Allen, a Bee All-Metro first-team selection last season who averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. "It's hard to get out of bed sometimes, but this is my life."

Olympic-bound – Former Granite Bay High swimmer Haley Anderson, now at USC, has qualified for the London Olympics after winning the women's 10K title at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier on Saturday in Setubal, Portugal.

Swimming for the United States, Anderson finished in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 30.6 seconds to beat second-place Eva Risztov of Hungary by 1.4 seconds.

Saturday proved a big day for the Anderson sisters as Haley's older sister, Alyssa, won the 200-meter freestyle at the Mutual of Omaha (Neb.) Swimvitational.

Both will compete in the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, June 25 to July 2 in Omaha.

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