Updated: Jun 11
After a two year hiatus due to COVID, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp returned during the 2022 NCAA Final Four weekend in New Orleans, LA. The minicamp has served as a primer for evaluating players deserving of an invite to training camp for the FIBA Americas and FIBA World Cup teams in the summer. This year’s group consisted of 46 athletes from the high school graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025. Over the course of three days, the invitees took part in on-court drills, scrimmages, and educational workshops at the New Orleans Pelicans’ Ochsner Sports Performance Center and Caesars Superdome.
Pro Insight was in attendance for the Saturday morning practice and caught up with Marvel Allen of Calvary Christian (FL) and The Skill Factory (GA). Originally an LSU commit prior to the coaching change, the 6’4” rising senior helped Calvary Christian to a FHSAA 4A State Championship playing alongside Michigan signee Gregg Glenn, UCF commit Taylor Hendricks, and 2023 guard Carl Cherenfant this past season. A five-star guard who scores at all three levels, Allen has a natural ability to generate buckets. While he can play either guard spot, Allen is a capable playmaker and possesses tools to create havoc on the defensive end.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Allen talked about showcasing a lock-down defensive mentality in front of NBA teams and scouts, a big deciding factor when making his choice, starting his own nonprofit foundation, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Marvel Allen, from West Palm Beach, Florida:
Pro Insight: Congratulations on the selection to the USA Basketball Junior Men’s National Team April minicamp. Is this your first time in New Orleans?
Marvel Allen: Nah, I've been in New Orleans about probably five times. It’s like my sixth time, but first Final Four, yeah.
PI: What's been your impression of the USA Basketball minicamp?
MA: It's been a great experience being able to play with all the top level guys and just it's a fun environment. The coaches, the staff, they showin’ love so you feel comfortable. There wasn’t any selfish play so we all just play together and have fun.
PI: Who have you enjoyed playing with this week?
MA: Favorite guy to play with…I'll probably say Jaylen Curry.
PI: Any big men you threw lobs to or connected with?
MA: Jalen Lewis.
PI: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and your family.
MA: My background and my family…my family [has] always been there for me. They showed me support. [When] I started out, I wasn't really known, like my name wasn't ringing but we just stayed focused, they kept supporting me. My dad and me, we just stayed in the gym and worked out and now we [are] here, but like I stay humble and we just keep developing. And my family, we big on our spiritual life and that’s God — 'cause of Him, this is all happening.
PI: Any athletes in the family?
MA: My dad played high school and college level [basketball], but most of my family where I’m from is straight football.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MA: I played every sport…football, tennis, golf, track, baseball. I did it all.
PI: For those that aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and play style?
MA: I'm a three-level scorer. I like to get at it on the defensive end. I can shoot the three, get to my mid-range. I can get others involved so I'm a complete player and I'm a team player.
PI: What do you think you showcased in front of NBA teams and scouts this weekend?
MA: That I can lock up, you know, take no breaks and I can stop anybody.
PI: You’re also here with your AAU teammates Kanaan Carlyle, Isaiah Collier, and Arrinten Page, how has the early experience been with TSF so far?
MA: I used to hate playing against them. It was always a fight, but now we [are] all on the same team so all I gotta say is that in EYBL sessions, we finna turn some gyms up.
PI: Besides winning Peach Jam, what are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
MA: My short term goals are [to] have a great year in college, start, then get out of there to the NBA.
PI: Since reopening your recruitment, who have you heard from the most, lately?
MA: Tennessee. Arkansas. Michigan. LSU still hittin’ me up. Alabama. Auburn. Many more others, it's a lot of schools. Arizona State. A lot of schools, but those [are] the ones that are at the top of my mind.
PI: Do you have a timeline for a decision?
MA: I'm kinda just waiting it out, trusting the process. I felt good about my early commitment with LSU, 'cause I felt like I got to experience it early so I know what that feels like. So right now I'm just chilling, developing, and then I'll experience that moment again.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
MA: All about the relationship. Talking to my family, seeing how I fit in their system, but it's mainly the family part. Just making sure the coach talking to my family 'cause when my family feels safe with the coach, then I feel safe.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
MA: I like to have fun, joke, and go to concerts. I like paintballing. Things like that.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
MA: I’m gonna always listen to my Florida boy FCG Heem and I listen to OMB Peezy and Lil Durk.
PI: Putting some respect on some of those local guys.
MA: For sure. I'll always go home team first.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
MA: Best piece of advice I ever received was that the game can be taken away from you any day of your life. So I got a lot of family members, a lot of people that died close to me so I just take advantage of every moment I have 'cause you never know when it's your time.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
MA: I just really want to give back. Give back to the youth, people in need that's less fortunate, single moms. So I want to start a foundation and just give back. That's my main goal.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
MA: Perseverance. Blessed 'cause I'm blessed from God. Hardworking. And I’ll put caring in there. I got a heart.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
MA: I just want to be remembered as always that guy you can come and talk to and I'll help you in any situation. No matter who you [are], you can be from Bill Gates to I don’t even know…I just want to show love to everybody. I want to be remembered as that guy.