LAS VEGAS — Rosco Allen received a pass on the wing during a workout session Thursday night at Bishop Gorman High School and aggressively attacked the basket past a defender like a guard, not a 6-foot-8-inch forward.
UCLA coach Ben Howland, in attendance to watch Allen and fellow Class of 2012 standout Shabazz Muhammad, is accustomed to watching Allen belie his height and handle the ball without difficulty.
What Allen did next after driving past the defender is an uncommon sight for any coach watching this generation of recruits: He laid the ball in rather than attempt a highlight-reel dunk. His father, Daniel Allen, credits that style of play to his son’s basketball development in Hungary, where the family lived regularly until moving to Las Vegas five years ago. They still own a house in Budapest and travel there often.
“The game is a little bit different there in Europe,” Daniel Allen told me. “It’s a little more physical, a little more fundamental. That’s why you’ll hardly ever see him dunk the ball. He’d rather make a three-pointer. He tells me that he’ll take three points over two any day.”
The name Dirk Nowitzki does not conjure images of a 7-foot dunking machine, although he is among the taller basketball players in the NBA. The German-born player is known for his perimeter play, including the three-point shot, because of his European background.
Rosco Allen, a Hungarian-American, who is likely to grow to at least 6-10 by the time he graduates from Gorman in two years, embodies some of the same characteristics as Nowitzki on the court.
“Working from the wing, I feel most comfortable,” the younger Allen said. “I know I can post up if I have to, or if there is a smaller player on me. Being able to play inside and out has helped me become a better basketball player.
“Growing up in Hungary helped me because all I did there was play point guard.”
Since he was a freshman at Gorman, Allen said he has grown seven inches. The growth spurt has not hindered his coordination.
“I think he is still growing,” the elder Allen said. “You look at him, and he’s still just a kid. The weight will come (he is listed at 205 pounds). He’ll find it somehow, especially with colleges like Arizona that have a great weight-training facility.
“The Arizona coaches have told us that they have kids come in and they put 15 to 20 pounds on them. That’s something that will definitely be good for Rosco’s stature.”