Noah Allen will be celebrated Saturday night as the lone senior on the University of Hawaii men's basketball team, and celebrated he should be.
"I don't know if you could make a greater impact in a shorter time period than he has with our program under the circumstances," said head coach Eran Ganot.
For Allen, the road to his recent success with the Rainbow Warriors has been anything but easy.
A star at Palma High School where he averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds per game, the California native headed to UCLA, where his career stalled.
Allen averaged just eight and a half minutes and a little more than a point per game in his three season with the Bruins, and the sport he loved quickly started to feel more like a job.
"In practice I was fine it was basketball like anything," said Allen. "But once I got into the game it was like a foreign country, honestly. Just complete shell shock and I never got a rhythm or a feel, and that's tough when basketball is something you've been doing your whole life and suddenly it becomes so difficult."
Then a breakthrough happened for Allen as the Rainbow Warriors began conference play. On six occasions, the senior has scored 25 points or more against Big West opponents.
"The potential was always there," said Ganot. "This was a guy I've known since he was a sophomore or junior in high school and who's continued to grow and get better. It's a testament to him for hanging in there and making the break through that he did is very rare."
At 18.5 points per game against conference foes, he currently leads the Big West in that statistical category. But best of all for Allen in his final season of college basketball, he's enjoying the game again.
"A lot of it just has to do with opportunity which is why I'm so thankful to coach Ganot and the staff and the school for just allowing me to play the game that I love again," said Allen. "I knew I could do it. I'm just thankful they believed in me too."
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