A reporter called Antonio Allen around 9 p.m. Monday night, expecting Waite's 6-6, 210-pound senior forward-center to be busy watching TV or playing video
games with friends.
Allen, the top rebounder in the City League, was studying for an exam.
"It's called measurement and analysis," said Allen, who was asked to explain exactly what that meant. "It's a little bit of algebra, a little bit of geometry. Math is my favorite subject."
This time next year, Allen will be in college somewhere. He said he will be the first person in his family to attend college. Whether or not he will still be playing basketball is secondary.
"School comes first," Allen said. "Growing up as a kid, everybody I was surrounded by made sure to tell me school comes first, before basketball."
Waite coach Dave Pitsenbarger said Allen "is being recruited by several Division II and Division III schools."
"He's a great guy," Pitsenbarger said. "He's down to earth and pretty much an adult at this point. He's a pleasure to have on the team. His game has stepped up a little bit in all areas. He definitely has developed a better shot. We're in the weight room quite a bit and he's bulked up, and he's got some speed."
As a junior, Allen averaged 8.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game to help the Indians go 14-5 and 10-1 in the CL.
Through eight games this season, Allen is averaging 11.1 points and 10.9 rebounds.
"His perimeter game has improved," Pitsenbarger said. "He can shoot three’s. He hasn't taken one yet, but he has a good shot from 19-20 feet. I think he'll be taking those types of shots as the year goes on."
Allen, a team captain along with Luke Murphy and Dishon Harris, is trying his best to help the Indians (4-4, 2-1 CL) corral a league championship this season. He had 14 rebounds in Waite's 62-52 non-league win last Saturday over Southview, which had beaten Rogers and CL favorite St. John's Jesuit.
After the win over Southview, Pitsenbarger said his rebounding average could be even higher.
“He had 10 last night (against Bowsher) and he didn’t play for a few quarters. You know, that average could be higher. He’s doing a nice job positioning and working on the boards for us.”
"I like to rebound," Allen said. "When I go up and grab a rebound, it boosts my energy and we can control the tempo of the game. Once I grab the ball, we control the ball and we can control the tempo of the game."
Allen said he would rather pull down 15 rebounds a game than score 20 points every night.
"Rebounding makes me feel like I'm really an asset for our team," he said. "Anybody on our team can put the ball in the basket. But when it's time to get in the air and grab a rebound, I feel like that's my role and I'm taking care of business."
Allen has been taking care of business in the classroom. He has a 3.2 GPA and scored an 18 on his ACT, although he plans to take the test again in February.
He is also involved in various extracurricular activities at Waite, such as men's chorus, concert choir, yearbook, and the school's holiday food drive.
Allen is a member of the National Honor Society, and this fall he was selected as Waite's City League Scholar Athlete.
"That meant a lot to me," Allen said. "It felt good just to have it. At first when I was told about it, I didn't know much about it. I was honored to get that."
And what about men's chorus and concert choir?
"They say I have a good voice," Allen said. "I try to be the best at whatever I do."
Entering his senior year in basketball, Allen said that although the Indians have made it to the CL final four, he wants more than anything for the Indians to nab the big prize. His personal statistics, he said, come secondary to winning.
"Over my four years of playing, we've made it to the final four but we didn't get over the hump to win the City League title," Allen said. "That's my goal, to win the City League. I just want to do good in school, be a good basketball player and make a name for the Indians' basketball team."
Last summer, Allen and his teammates played in a tournament at Central Michigan University and won the tourney title. He also played for an AAU team, the Ohio Gators.
"This was my first year playing for them," Allen said. "I think I did pretty well."
Allen said that knowing college recruiters are keeping tabs on him this season hasn't affected his play one bit. The only thing on his mind is having a strong senior season and contributing to the Indians' success.
"I just want to help my team," Allen said. "Our team is a special team. We're young and everybody on our team has the same goal. Now that we are all getting everything together, we can go as far as we want to go.
"As far as going to college, I can do that with my grades. I've already been accepted to the University of Toledo. I can go there if I want and apply to different colleges. That's something you have to take care of as a person. Basketball is fun and you can do that if you want to do that, but I have a future outside of basketball. I think about it all the time."