Kentucky enters the 2021 Men’s Basketball SEC Tournament with a 9-15 overall record, and 8-9 in the SEC, earning them the 8-seed and a matchup against 9-seed Mississippi State.
In their lone outing of the season, Kentucky defeated the Bulldogs in Starkville 78-73 in double overtime. They were carried by a clutch performance from redshirt freshman Dontaie Allen, who nailed seven three-pointers and led the team with 23 points in what many thought may be his coming out party for the rest of the season.
Since, Allen has had some ups and downs, getting just five minutes at most in recent games as he slowly fell back out of the rotation. That does not mean the team has given up on his ability, though, as UK Head Coach John Calipari said after their victory over South Carolina that he told Allen to be ready for another big moment. According to sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr., the sharpshooter has done just that in practice after a rare slump.
“Dontaie shot the ball extremely well. That’s what we need Dontaie to do. We’ve all had his back all year. We get mad at Dontaie when he doesn’t shoot the ball because we know how good of a shooter he is. He brings a different element to our team. Yesterday Dontaie shot the lights out,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he doesn’t know why Allen has been reluctant to shoot sometimes, or if he feels too much pressure being the in-state phenom, but the sophomore did reiterate that the team has his back.
“I don’t have the ability to jump inside his mind, but our whole team is backing him and all we want is to see him do well. If he is feeling pressure, I hope that he knows that we’re with him no matter what,” he said.
Considering Allen’s history against Mississippi State and apparent explosion shooting the ball, maybe the freshman is due to have another big outing on Thursday afternoon.