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Allen to Forgo Basketball Over Conflict With Coach

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

All-Valley tight end Brian Allen of Hart, whose season ended Friday night with the Indians’ 26-14 playoff loss to Paramount, said that he will not play basketball this fall because of a conflict with basketball Coach Greg Herrick.

Allen, who leads Valley-area receivers with 62 catches, played forward for Hart’s basketball team the past 2 years. Last season, he averaged 12 points and a team-high 7 rebounds a game.

But Herrick, Allen said, did not welcome him back this season.

“He wanted me to make every single summer-league game and I couldn’t because of my commitment to football,” Allen said. “He said, ‘If you can’t make every game, then you won’t play in the next game.’ I’m sort of disappointed because he didn’t give me a chance to at least go out as much as I could in the summer.

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“But I’m not sweating it. My future is in football.”

Allen (6 feet, 4 inches, 215 pounds) has attracted the interest of several Division I colleges, including USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Oklahoma.

Although Herrick said that Allen is free to join the basketball team, the coach admits he would rather Allen did not.

“It’s a tough situation. I can’t deny a kid an opportunity to play basketball--that’s his choice,” Herrick said. “But I like my team right now. This team has been together for six months. And we’ve played 28 games this summer without Brian Allen.

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“He wanted to play basketball at his leisure. I encouraged him to play football. He doesn’t have the talent to play Division I basketball, and I think I’m a pretty good judge of that talent. I’ve coached eight Division I basketball players.”

Herrick, who coached at Cleveland for 6 years years before joining Hart last season, said that the late addition of Allen and former Hart lineman Brian Jacobs last year “disrupted the continuity of the team.”

“I thought it could be done easily because at Cleveland I never had football players on the basketball team,” Herrick said. “But once you step back--you’re still trying to teach fundamentals in January--you don’t have it.

“Crenshaw never had a football player on the basketball team,” Herrick said of the defending City Section 4-A Division champion. “I know Cleveland doesn’t.”


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