by Cerwin D. Haynes
The shutdown of sports due to COVID-19 took a painstaking toll on CCCAA basketball. 16 teams - eight men, and eight women - were gearing up to head to West Hills College Lemoore for the State Championships when the cancellation of said games were announced.
East Los Angeles College was one of those eight men's teams. The #2 seed out of the South Region, the Huskies were literally on the road, halfway to Lemoore, when the cancellation announcement came down. A team that many believed were one of the favorites to win the State title would, unfortunately, not be able to show their mettle on the championship courts.
Continuing our "Ask A Husky" series, we catch up with one of the engines of that Huskies' team: 2019-2020 South Coast Conference-North Player of the Year Kealen Allen (aka "KJ"). The freshman forward agreed to lend his time to our written Q & A session give us a little insight into this past season and what he's currently up to.
CDH: Hi KJ! Thanks for taking time to talk to us. How are you doing?
KJA: I'm doing pretty good. Just waiting till everything blows over so I can get back in the gym.
CDH: COVID-19 and the sports shutdown has had a profound impact on ELAC's basketball season. Specifically, the day that the CCCAA announced that the basketball championships were cancelled, you and your teammates were already two hours on a bus, literally halfway from Lemoore – the site of the championship games. Walk us through (describe) the thoughts and feelings of you and your teammates as you boarded the bus – on your way, and then once you guys learned of the cancellation.
KJA: Yea we was all ready to go to war, but we heard the news that we can't go. Me personally, [I] was devastated: I was so pumped to go against some really good competition. The team was heartbroken - we just couldn't believe what was happening.
CDH: Although no one was able to play for the state title, your team had – by every measure – a great season; the most wins in school history (among other accolades). What are some of your best memories from the season?
KJA: Some of my best memories as a team was practice for sure. My brothers and I going at it every day in practice. Also team bonding trips was fun too; I have many great memories with this team.
CDH: You were named the 2019-2020 South Coast Conference North Player of the Year, and you are often talked about as one of the best JUCO players in the state. Coach Mosley has spoken highly of your character as a person; what motivates you to be who you are and how you approach basketball?
KJA: What motivates me is my family; [they] makes me go harder every day so my younger siblings don't have to struggle in life. I just want the best for them and that really gives me a push.
CDH: As a student-athlete, you are used to a lot of in-person activity and interaction, even within a classroom setting. That has all changed since the move to strictly online classwork. How do you feel you're handling this difference?
KJA: Moving to all online classes is definitely different. It's not so bad when you get the hang of it. Once you get a good time to do your work, it's simple.
CDH: We've seen pics and vids via social media of some student-athletes maintaining workout regimens during social distancing. How have you and your teammates managed yourselves physically, particularly with no access to the school's gym or weight room right now?
KJA: I managed to work out at home: they took the rims off at the park so my parents had to go get a court. Basically, just doing anything to stay busy.
CDH: How are you staying positive and resilient during this uncertain time?
KJA: I'm staying positive just by staying active and going hiking. Still working out and waiting for the moment everything goes back to normal.
- Allen lead the team in scoring and rebounding at 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Hitting 67.4% of his shots from the field, his field goal percentage lead the Huskies and was also good for the fourth-best field goal percentage in the state.
- KJ has at least four sophomore teammates who have signed NCAA Division-I scholarship offers this spring.