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September 12, 2012For several months now, four-star Rivals150 wing Dakarai Allen had made it no secret that San Diego State was the frontrunner in his recruitment.
SDSU had been after him hard ever since head coach Steve Fisher and assistant coach Tony Bland saw him play at a tournament in Torrey Pines last December. They saw what Allen could do, and they followed him closely from that point forward, making sure they were at all of his games during the spring and summer evaluation periods, and making it clear that he was right at the top of their wish list.
On Wednesday, Allen gave the Aztecs their wish, and verbally committed to SDSU.
"I'm really excited, I just want to get out there," Allen said. "I just want to get right back to San Diego.
"I like the style of play, I liked the coaching staff a lot, I love our relationship. It's somewhere that I really wanted to go, so that was a really big thing for me. Also, the campus and the location are just great."
The small forward from Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon was on campus earlier this month for an official visit, where he fell even more in love with the school. He promised himself going into that weekend that he wouldn't commit on his first official visit, but made plans to return for Midnight Madness in October and announce his commitment then.
But over the following weeks, with his phone ringing off the hook with college coaches calling and trying to set up visits, Allen and his family decided to end the recruiting process. They knew where he was going to go, and decided to tell Fisher, Bland and assistant coach Brian Dutcher in person when the three SDSU coaches came up to Sacramento for an in-home visit on Wednesday.
"My dad got tired of all the coaches calling and stuff," Allen said. "He knew where he wanted to send me, so he just wanted me to end it instead of taking more visits or having more home visits."
Allen originally told Fisher about his decision earlier Wednesday morning, but the Aztecs head coach didn't believe him at first. When the three coaches stepped into the Allen household in the afternoon and got the official word from his parents, they were ecstatic.
Every person in the house -- even 67-year old Fisher -- jumped up and cheered with excitement.
"As soon as (Fisher) got the OK, that's when he started jumping around," Allen laughed. "Everyone was up giving each other hugs and laughing and running around."
On Wednesday, it was like the coaching staff was part of the Allen family. And throughout his whole recruitment, they made Allen feel like a part of the Aztec family, which played a major factor in his decision.
"Coach Bland is like a big brother," Allen said. "He'll be my friend, and I know he'll get on me when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to. And Coach Fisher is great and so is Coach Dutcher. It's just all-around a great coaching staff for me."
With Allen now in the mix, SDSU will not just be getting arguably the top perimeter defender in the 2013 class, but a player who is willing to come in and put in all the work necessary to assimilate himself into the team and be successful.
"I think I'll fit in perfectly," Allen said. "I'm not a guy that's trying to come in and be a big star. I'll just work my way up the totem pole, doing the things I need to do, and not getting away from my game. So that's what I'm really looking forward to."
The Aztecs are still going hard after Allen's good friend and high school teammate, Darin Johnson, and Allen says he'll be in Johnson's ear all the time now, telling the three-star shooting guard to join him at San Diego State.
"There'll be some inside recruitment going on with me and him," Allen smiled.
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