Imagine being thrown into a significant starting role with all eyes on you to bring home a win against one of the top programs in the Big Sky. Then imagine scoring 25 points and a perfect record from the free throw line. Now imagine that you did this as a true freshman.
Trevon Allen was in this exact situation nearly a year ago and has grown more as a player in what is now the latter half of his sophomore campaign.
Last season, Allen scored the second most points ever in a season as a freshman under Head Coach Don Verlin. Allen said his early success came from the help of his teammates and coaches.
“Being so young and getting the chance for me to play and start as a freshman was something I didn’t expect coming in at all,” Allen said. “I think it gave me a great boost in knowing that I can play at this level and be able to play with these guys.”
Allen said his love for the game started at a young age with support from his family, and basketball has been a part of his life ever since.
“It derived from my parents,” Allen said. “They both played high school sports, my dad played college sports here at the University of Idaho so they almost instilled that drive for me to play basketball.”
As a dual-sport athlete, Allen said he dipped his toe in several athletic-waters, but always came back to basketball.
“Football was my secondary sport in high school, I enjoyed playing, I could have branched out and played in college, but basketball was always the sport I put all my time into,” Allen said.
From a young age, Allen said he always wanted a career in basketball — something that is still an aspiration to this day. Similiar to many young athletes, Allen said he hoped his basketball career would not end at graduation.
“I wanted to play in the NBA,” Allen said. “I liked messing around with a lot of video filming growing up, but other than that my dream has always been to play basketball.”
Years later with more experience on his athletic resume, Allen said this dream is still something he holds close to him.
“Professional basketball is something I want to pursue,” Allen said. “I know it’s a tough task and a hard career to get into, but it’s the main goal. Having a secondary plan, I want to be able to stay around the sport because I love the game so much.”
Allen grew up in Lapwai, Idaho, a place he said is somewhere everyone knows everyone.
“You know everybody there and a lot of people know you,” Allen said. “Sports is a huge thing and a huge drive and passion for everyone involved there.”
It is this support from his local community that Allen said motivated him to pursue the next step in his athletic career at Idaho.
“The biggest thing about it is having a great community and support all the time for any event,” Allen said. “A lot of community members try to come up and watch me play and so there is a lot of support from a great community.”
While he continues to push his limits as a sophomore guard on the Idaho basketball team, Allen said his family remains a priority.
“I stay close to my family,” Allen said. “I go home quite a bit. I go support my brother, and whenever I get a chance I go home to support him.”
Allen played for Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Washington, where he led his high school to back-to-back State Championships with a 51-2 record in his last two years with the program.
As he progressed throughout his early athletic years, Allen said playing Division I basketball was always the main goal.
“Growing up that was always my main goal,” Allen said of playing basketball in college. “Knowing my dad was able to make it to D1 and was able to play, I tried to be on that level, maybe surpass him hopefully after college play.”
Growing up, Allen said that it was his father that he has always looked to as a role model in his life.
“He gave me that drive to be good, it was something that he always wanted me to be good and he gave me that drive to want be better and not get complacent,” Allen said.
It was in his early years of high school basketball Allen said he began to realize playing basketball at a Division I school was a feasible possibility.
“It hit me my sophomore year, when I received a questionnaire wanting to learn about me from the University of Denver,” Allen said. “It was my sophomore year, I was young, some people didn’t get anything until their senior year, so that gave me another motivational drive to keep getting better.”
Allen said that playing for a Division I school has been a blessing, and being able to play for Idaho is just a bonus.
“Getting a chance to play D1 was a blessing, and obviously whatever came my way I took as a blessing and was huge for me,” Allen said. “Idaho was the place I felt most comfortable with the guys and the coaches, and a place I knew I would fit in.”
One of Idaho’s senior members, guard Chad Sherwood, said he has nothing but praise for Allen since he has arrived.
“From the moment he stepped on campus he fit right in,” Sherwood said.
Sherwood said Allen’s ability to adapt to the Idaho style of play has worked for Allen and allowed him to be successful in the program.
“I think the biggest thing that he has gotten better at is the speed of the game, he has caught up to that and it has really helped him on the court,” Sherwood said.
Allen said he has adjusted to be able to relax and play more freely.
“The biggest thing for me is just being relaxed now,” Allen said. “Before it was me not wanting to mess anything up, but now I know that mistakes happen and that you can bounce back from them.”
As he continues to adjust and grow with the team, Allen said that although he is not superstitious he always tries to find ways to motivate himself each game.
“I like to use wrist tape, and write stuff on it whether it is a bible verse or motivational things that are going on,” Allen said. “So, in a game I like to look down at it to try to get a boost of motivation.”
This is not a new tradition for the young athlete, but rather he has done since high school, Allen said.
“I always wore it in high school, but when I sprained my wrist in my senior year I stopped wearing it,” Allen said. “I didn’t really wear it my freshman year, but I started to do it again when I thought that maybe it was the wrist tape that helped me play so well.”
Idaho men’s basketball currently has six seniors on the team, but the future of the team without them is not something that scares Allen, but rather provides a learning opportunity, he said.
“It makes me feel pretty good. I know we had a practice session with all the younger guys, and I could kind of feel that leadership role taking in,” Allen said. “It is something I look forward to, and hope that I can be the future of the program and have a good Vandal career overall.”
While he is still early in his career with Idaho, Allen said he is already looking ahead to his legacy as a Vandal basketball alum.
“Just being able to get a ring and leave the mark in the history books is the way that I want people to remember me from my time here at the University of Idaho,” Allen said.
Chris Deremer can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter at Cderemer_VN