Grayson Allen is one of the top high school basketball players in the country. The Providence senior will attend Duke University in the fall where he'll learn under the direction of Mike Krzyzewski. But Allen's rise to fame started up in the air.
"A good dunk shouldn’t just get you excited" said Allen. "It should get your whole team excited and the fans excited. And put a hurting on the other team’s momentum."
Allen dunked for the first time as a 14-year-old, the summer before his freshman year of high school. He's spent the last four years perfecting the art of the slam dunk.
"First it’s just attacking the basket and getting to that launching pad where you can get your feet set and just go up with it," said Allen. "And once up I’m in the air, I try to punish the rim. It’s not about putting it up soft. I just want to finish over whoever is under the basket."
Allen has always been a basketball star on the First Coast. But his popularity hit the global stage thanks to YouTube.
"It spread really rapidly because I believe the title for most of it was 'white boy dunking'," said Allen. "As funny as it is, it’s the truth. You don’t really see it a lot. And they’re just being straight forward. And that’s when it really caught on."
His biggest dunk came in a slam dunk competition in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Allen won the contest by dunking over four 6-foot 8 teammates.
"The funny story about that is I had only planned to jump over 2 and I did that in the dunk before but the dunk contest went to overtime and the guy before jumped over 3 people," said Allen. "So I just grabbed 2 more teammates and I said let’s try it. It was the first time I had ever tried it before and I think with the adrenaline of the people in the crowd and it being a dunk contest, I think that helped a little bit but it was fun to get it done."
If you're looking for reasons as to how Allen got his hops, it's not genetics.
"I asked my parents and they had no answer for it because they said neither of them are athletes or jumpers like that," said Allen. "So for me, I just realized I was blessed with it. Nothing else to say about it."
Allen led Providence to a state championship in 2013, but his Stallions fell to Sagemont in the state semifinals this year, ending Allen's high school career. But he's looking forward to the next chapter of his life, where he'll play for Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
"I feel like he’s the best coach in college basketball right now," said Allen. "So to just get an opportunity to play for him and have the best coach in college basketball say he wants you to play for him, that’s a great honor."