Former Oakland Patriot star Allen still finds love in basketball

Former Oakland High basketball standout Chaisson Allen is now an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards G-League team. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Chaisson Allen has lived a basketball life.

In fact, his basketball career that began in Murfreesboro will come full circle later this summer with a new hoops endeavor.

Allen was a star player at Oakland High School, leading the Patriots to the state tournament his senior season.

"The state tournament run with (former Oakland coach) Randy King is probably my favorite memory," said Allen, who played collegiately at Northeastern and professionally overseas before going into coaching. "We made it to the semifinals and lost in triple overtime.

"The community really supported us. Those rivalry games against Siegel and Riverdale were great. The gyms were packed and those were good times,"

Allen, a 6-4 point guard, was recruited by many schools but ultimately chose Northeastern, which is Boston.

"Coach Bill Cohen came to Murfreesboro and found me," Allen said. "It was different. My older brothers took a different route and played football, and one of my brothers played at UT. I decided to take it up North. I was definitely colder but I had a lot of fun."

Allen had an outstanding college career, averaging more than 12 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He finished his career with 1,526 points, 762 rebounds and 430 assists.

"I was fortunate to play there," Allen said. "I was a four-year starter and captain my lost two years. I had a coach who trusted and believed in me. But I have to give credit to all my coaches -- former Central Middle School coach (Ron) Couey, coach King at Oakland and my father who I grew up playing for."

Allen added that playing at Northeastern was a perfect destination.

"It definitely helped me mature, and I found more love for the game there," he said. "Once you get away you have to find things to do. My thing was the gym. That was my love."

Upon graduation, Allen had tryouts with several teams, but eventually decided to go  overseas for what was a six-year career.

"Post grad in 2001, I had some opportunities with the Heat," he said. "I had six workouts with the Celtics and New Jersey Nets. I made the last cut with the Miami Heat, but it came during the lockout year.

"Pat Riley advised me to go overseas because there wasn't a summer league and I couldn't get my feet wet. I enjoyed it overseas and stayed for six years with teams in Israel, Croatia, Turkey, Poland and Greece."

Allen admitted going overseas was a completely different adjustment.

"I was nervous, but my agent prepared me for what my mind and body would see," Allen said. "We were well embraced. Most of the time you played with three or four other Americans, and you came very close.

"You just have to adapt to where you're at. My wife was with me and she is a vegetarian. We had to figure ways to order of their menu. It was about trying to learn a lot languages, and we did a lot of finger pointing but I loved the cultures. Everybody knows about America, but we don't know much about them. It made me read more about their culture and their politics."

After retiring as a player, Allen was ready to get into the coaching profession.

"I had a good relationship with Jim Larranaga at Miami (University)," Allen said. "I was there for two years for player development and got me feet under me. We had some connections and called them up and I did a few interviews.

"I ended up getting hired by the Capital City Go Go of the (NBA) G-League. The league is on an up rise. It's a funnel for guys coming back from injuries or coming back from overseas. Even Demarcus Cousins played this year, and we had five (NBA) call-ups from our team this year."

Allen will return to Murfreesboro this summer for his latest basketball project in hopes of giving back to his community.

"I'm able to get back and help guys and girls," he said. "I'm doing a Sports Nation came June 24 through June 28, and you can sign up by going to www.sportsnationcamps.com. I was given the opportunity to bring a Nike camp here July 22-26. You can (Google search) Chaisson Allen, Nike Camps.

"It's very important to me to give back. The Nike camp, I had an opportunity to bring it to Washington D.C., but I wanted to bring it to Murfreesboro. Our city really is on the rise. I've seen the women's basketball game grow, as well as the men's, and I want to see it continue to grow.

"As important as anything, though, these camps aren't just for stars. There are a lot of avenues in the sports world, from front office, analytics and lot of other great things. I want kids to be exposed to that and know what is out there."

Allen has certainly come a long way since his days at Oakland High School, and he truly is living a basketball life.

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