When four-star Rivals150 guard Thomas Allen received his release from his letter of intent to North Carolina State, he quickly became one of the top unsigned high school seniors available.
One of the first schools to contact the Brewster (N.H.) Academy product was Nebraska, a program Allen nearly committed to the first time around last fall.
Over the next three weeks, NU head coach Tim Miles and lead recruiter Kenya Hunter made the 6-foot-1, 165-pound native of Raleigh, N.C., their top priority for their 2017 class.
On Friday, that hard work paid off in a major way, as Allen announced his commitment to the Huskers via his Twitter account.
Allen, who ended up ranked No. 99 in the final 2017 Rivals150, chose Nebraska over hefty competition from the likes of Kansas, Georgetown, Ohio State, Texas, Xavier, Butler and Creighton.
“I just felt really comfortable with Coach Miles and Coach Hunter,” Allen told HuskerOnline.com. “When I got my release, they came out here like five times, and I just felt like I knew right away it was a great fit…
“They treated me like I’m family. We talk a lot about stuff that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s probably what sold me the most. They treated me like a person outside of the basketball world.”
Before committing to his hometown North Carolina State in October, Allen took an official visit to NU in late September and had the Huskers in his final three schools. In fact, Allen said Friday that he nearly committed to Nebraska during his visit.
But when N.C. State fired head coach Mark Gottfried, the connection changed for Allen and he eventually decided to ask for his release to re-explore his options. One day after receiving his release, Hunter flew out to Wolfsboro, N.H., to see him.
Combine that with the other pre-existing relationships he has in Lincoln - current Huskers Isaac Copeland and Anton Gill are also both from Raleigh and played for the same Garner Road AAU program - Allen said there just too much to like about Nebraska.
“That played a lot, because Coach Hunter, he’s from North Carolina,” Allen said. “I know Anton real well, and he told me how much he liked it. When I went out there for my visit, Anton was my host, and he showed me around and told me all about it. Everything about it just all felt right.”
Allen was named the NEPSAC Player of the Year and he helped Brewster go 33-0 and win the National Prep School championship. He also shot 48% from 3-point range (115-of-239) this past season.
Allen had 19 points in the title game during a 72-71 win over Gill (Mass.) Northfield Mount Hermon, and he scored a school-record 50 points on 18-of-23 shooting with 11 made 3-pointers in a win over North Bridgton (Maine) Bridgton Academy.
His scoring fills a major need in Nebraska’s backcourt, as does his ability to play point guard along with junior-to-be Glynn Watson.
“They said I could come in and play the point,” Allen said. “I talked to Glynn last night as well, and we talked about playing together in the backcourt. We’re both pretty excited about it.”
Allen said he will move to Lincoln in time for the first five-week summer school session. When he arrives, he said the Huskers would be getting an all-around player ready to hit the ground running.
“They’re getting a player who likes to create for his teammates. Obviously I can shoot the ball very well, and I’m a guy who’s won a lot. Now I’m ready to win at Nebraska.”