Tahlequah Daily Press

August 2, 2013

Tony Allen provides pointers at OSU hoops camp


— STILLWATER — DeAndre Young had just one thing on his mind when NBA All-Defensive First teamer Tony Allen came baring down on him — just shoot it.

“He was coming at me and I just had to get a shot up quick,” said Young, 12, of Bartlesville during the Grit and Grind Skills Academy at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The camp, presented by the former Oklahoma State standout, drew a large attendance over its three days on the Stillwater campus — all of which was free to those campers attending.

“I always look at how I grew up. There weren’t any NBA players or no college players coming back to set an example,” Allen said. “That’s basically what I’m doing. I’m trying to give somebody the motivation to work hard, go out there and compete.”

Allen arrived to the camp early one morning and got the chance to interact with the campers. After giving some instruction to some of the younger campers, Allen laced it up and played some 3-on-3 with the older campers.

That’s when Young found himself being guarded by one of the NBA’s top defenders. And after several blocked shots, Young thought he had his opening atop the key. But Allen closed the gap and missed blocking the shot — instead taking out the 12-year-old camper, who just got right up and brushed it off.

“Anytime I get on the hardwood, I’m competing 110 percent — I even fouled a kid today,” said Allen, who was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in 2004, the same year the Cowboys made it to the Final Four under coach Eddie Sutton. “That was kind of rough. But I’ve got to win.”

Young wasn’t the only camper to feel the brunt of Allen going 110 percent during the camp.

Braden Brown, 17, of Yukon matched up a little better with Allen, who recently re-signed with the Memphis Grizzlies after they knocked out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the latest NBA playoffs. Brown stood his ground, getting several back-door buckets on Allen, while also trying to keep up with the NBA guard on defense.

In one instance, Allen attempted to drive on the Yukon native, who slipped in front of the ex-Cowboy — who instinctively put up his forearm to create space.

“He pushed off. In the NBA that’d also be a foul,” Brown said.

Getting to go up against the ex-Cowboy was a dream come true for Brown, who will be a senior in high school.

“It was like re-living every single one of my dreams as a kid. It was incredible,” Brown said. “I remember watching him play when they went to the Final Four and was like, ‘I want to play with that guy.’ Now I finally get to do it. It’s just incredible.”