PORT ARTHUR —
There’s not much that scares Ty Allen, except the idea of not being able to play basketball. That’s exactly what almost happened.
Allen, a freshman guard at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, grew up in the mean streets of Chicago. It was there that he battled for a reputation and a spot on the basketball court, whether it was the hardwood in high school or the concrete court in the streets.
“I was always the young guy playing with the older guys,” Allen said. “I wanted to prove I could be as good as anyone and I knew that I had to be out there fighting for that reputation.”
Through high school he solidified his rep with his name appearing in the Chicago Tribune for the state-ranked Rich South High School Stars. His senior season he averaged 11 points, 5.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2 steals per game and led his team to the Illinois Sweet 16. He was the complete player and the recruiters knew it.
Xavier University, a Division I NAIA school, came calling and Allen answered with the promise of an all-conference performance for the New Orleans school.
Fate had other plans.
Allen began having back spasms that left him, at times, crippled on the sidelines. An MRI confirmed a diagnosis – a bulging disc in his back.
“They performed an epidural and that helped but I had to lay out,” Allen said. “It was frustrating. I wanted to be out there and I couldn’t.”
He dutifully battled the physical part of his medical roadblock but it was the psychological aspect that at times had him considering his future without basketball.
“There were times when I got depressed, when it got so hard that I just didn’t know if I wanted to keep dreaming about my future in basketball,” he said. “But when that happened, I would get my head together and get back on track. I couldn’t let that stop me.”