Glen Mills' Allen Makes His Move At Point Guard He Is A Sophomore Who Plays Like A Senior. His Team Stands At 10-0.

Posted: January 28, 1994

CONCORDVILLE — Glen Mills point guard Jordache Allen likes to defy convention.

No, he is not named after the jeans designer. His name actually comes from one of the lead characters of the 1970s TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man.

No one would expect the director of the unbeaten Bulls offense to be a veteran leader. Well, he's only a 15-year-old sophomore.

But he is playing as if he was born to run a big-time basketball attack.

Allen has impressed his peers and coaches in his first season as a starter. But no one is happier than Bulls coach Craig Mellinger. The second-year coach knows that without the improved play of his point guard, the Bulls would not be 10-0 overall and 2-0 in the Del-Val League.

"He continually surprises me," Mellinger said. "Every challenge we put before him, he eventually meets it and then goes beyond it. No doubt, he has us excited about his potential, and he's excited about it, too."

Allen, a native of Flint, Mich., stepped into a good basketball situation last season. Mellinger took over, after being an assistant, and had a lot of holes to fill because of players moving on. It ended up that 25 of the 28 varsity and junior-varsity players were new last season.

As always, more than 200 players tried out last year, and Allen did what he had to do - he got the coaches' attention. "What we teach our players is the theory of 'make us play you.' Work hard, show an effort and practice, and try to follow what we're teaching you and you'll earn playing time," Mellinger said. "Jordache did that."

"I played organized ball before I came here," Allen said. "I knew I was pretty good. And with all the people I was up against (at tryouts), I just put my skills to work."

Mellinger knew he had something special, and he tried to get Allen playing time at both the JV and varsity levels. By the end of the season, Allen was coming off the varsity bench in big games because of injuries. That experience would prove invaluable.

"The guy ahead of me at the point last year was a senior," Allen said. ''I learned from the bench watching him and with my minutes. I think those minutes helped me a lot, so I'm not that nervous out there this year."

While he stays calm, he has opponents agitated with his ability to run a potent offense. His biggest asset is his ability to penetrate. He has the speed to break down a man-to-man defense and the know-how and quickness to knife through an opposing zone. His slick touch makes him a good scorer and passer.

"The first time down the floor, I look to get the ball down low," Allen said. "I feel more comfortable driving to the hoop. I'm very quick off the ball, and I like to use that to break down a defense and pass off."

Where Mellinger has challenged Allen the most is in the mental aspect of the game. And the sophomore has responded like a senior. "He is getting a handle on certain game situations - when to pull it back and when to go to the basket," Mellinger said. "He's starting to look ahead - two and three trips down the floor - to see who should get the ball and how the offense should be run."

"I prefer an up-tempo game, with lots of running and quickly getting back on defense," Allen said. "But I'm also learning when to sit back and look for the other team's weaknesses, and who has the hot hand. I want to get everybody involved in the offense. With our team, it could be a different scorer any night."

Like a good point guard, he is also letting his scoring flow to him through the offense, not forcing his shots. He is a confident player right now, and he exudes that confidence in the way he speaks and plays. He is averaging 13 points, 6.5 assists and four steals a game, with only three turnovers per contest.

His maturity is also evident in the classroom, and his goals are firmly set on a college education. "I have no worries about Jordache when it comes to school work," Mellinger said. "He goes to every class, and is doing as well if not better in class than on the court."

For now, Allen is hoping the weather will clear, giving him and his teammates a chance to perform. Snow and ice has forced the cancellation of the first Del-Val League match with Chester and was threatening this afternoon's league showdown with Academy Park.

"We have something to prove, and we're anxious to play these big games," Allen said. "Academy Park came here and beat us, and we don't want that to happen two years in a row."

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