There's a better than average chance that Keenan Allen, the Chargers wide receiver, will look at the television screen during a NCAA Tournament broadcast and start dreaming.
He won't, though, be imagining a reality where he's catching alley oops instead of spirals. That dream hasn't existed since Allen was 6 years old and first started playing football.
But two years ago, once Allen decided to invest and start his own AAU basketball team in San Diego, a new dream was birthed.
"We've got pretty good talent," Allen said in a phone interview with The Times.
Allen sponsored the San Diego Slayers, a 13-and-under team after a friend began coaching a local rec league team in San Diego.
"And he actually had some pretty good athletes. I just thought, 'Why don't we sponsor them and make a real AAU team?" Allen said. '…We just started getting guys who wanted to play."
The team's played in San Diego's top tournaments, traveled to Los Angeles and even Arizona and Nevada.
"We try to play in the biggest ones, get them the exposure that they need," Allen said. "Just, hopefully, they can keep it goin'."
Maybe some of that pretty good talent on Allen's roster will be playing in college basketball's biggest tournament someday. But, in the meantime, Allen's focusing on another dream – getting back to and staying on the football field.
Allen tore the ACL in his right knee, crumbling to the turf in Kansas City before being carted off the field in the Chargers' season-opening game last season. And when the team begins organized team activities at Chargers Park in San Diego on April 3, Allen won't be a full participant.
But his absence during off-season workouts shouldn't cause any alarms to go off; it's all part of a recovery plan.
"I'm not trying to kill myself. There's still a long time until the season," Allen said. "I'm definitely trying to just keep getting stronger and then just try to be there for the whole season for my team."
Allen, who will turn 25 in late April, said he's doing almost "everything," including running and cutting. He expects to easily be ready for the start of training camp in July.
If healthy, Allen is one of the best, most productive receivers in the NFL.
In each of his first two seasons, Allen caught more than 70 passes, becoming one of Philip Rivers' favorite targets. And in 2015, Allen got off to an incredible start, catching 67 passes in the first eight weeks of the season.
But an injury, this time a lacerated kidney, ended Allen's season early. And his 2016 comeback ended just before halftime in the opener, the knee injury occurring after Allen had already caught six passes and helped the Chargers build a 21-3 lead.
After Allen went down, Kansas City would mount a comeback, beginning a season filled with injuries and late-game disappointments and ending with a coaching change.
But the additions of new coach Anthony Lynn and a healthy roster have Allen optimistic for the Chargers' first season in Los Angeles.
"We're definitely a great team, especially with all our pieces and everyone healthy. We're definitely contenders for the big dance," Allen said. "We just need to keep everyone healthy, everyone motivated and ready to go, and then, we'll be good.
"I'm trying to do more than I did ever since I've been in the NFL as far as off-season lifting, rehab and keeping my body in shape the whole time. Hopefully, it's going to pay off. There's definitely luck in lasting a whole season, but it's a process."