Most high school basketball teams still are developing their chemistry.
It’s easier for Centennial’s boys squad, which center Evan Martin said benefits from “twin telepathy-type stuff.”
That comes from fraternal twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen, a pair of junior guards with 4.5 weighted grade-point averages who give the Bulldogs a talented and extremely cohesive backcourt.
Watching the Allen brothers swing the basketball around the perimeter or play help defense in practice is like watching choreographed dance steps.
“I know what he’s going to do on the next play. It’s just instinctive,” Malcolm Allen said of his brother. “I pretty much know what he’s going to do every step of the way. It makes my job easier and his job easier, too.”
The 6-foot-1-inch Malcolm Allen plays point guard, and the 6-3 Marcus Allen plays shooting guard, though they switch off occasionally.
Centennial (2-0) opened the season with impressive wins over Green Valley and Coronado, averaging 87 points. The twins have led the way, with Marcus averaging 31.5 points per game and Malcolm 20 points along with 4.5 assists.
“We know what we’re going to do. I know when he’s going to shoot,” Marcus Allen said. “I can just tell, and it really helps.”
Centennial coach Todd Allen, who is not related to the Allen twins, said both players let scoring come naturally to them and excel with their shot selection.
“It’s pretty fun to watch,” Todd Allen said. “Their confidence has carried over to the rest of the team. They know how to compete and are very unselfish. They don’t care who scores.”
Marcus Allen averaged 10.9 points last season but appears to have blossomed into one of the area’s most dynamic scorers this season as the Bulldogs try to replace graduated standout Aaseem Dixon.
Asked to analyze his brother’s strengths, Malcolm Allen praised Marcus’ ability to “flat out shoot the ball” and create his own shot.
As if he overheard during practice, Marcus Allen hit a pull-up jumper from the wing moments later.
Marcus Allen then was asked to break down Malcolm’s game.
“He’s fast and can break the press,” Marcus said, before Malcolm ran a crisp fast-break drill.
So about that telepathy?
“It’s not telepathic, but we know what we’re going to do,” Marcus Allen said.
The Allens’ mother, Trina Wiggins, was a Stanford gymnast, and their father, Carl Allen, was a Vanderbilt football player. Both parents graduated in 1982, and their academic focus has been passed down.
“Sometimes you can’t play video games or go to the movies with your friends,” Malcolm Allen said. “You have to go home and do your work, and that sets you up for later in life.”
Marcus Allen, who is passionate about math, said his favorite subject helps on the court.
“Math helps with angles and plays,” he said. “I think having the grades gives you confidence on the floor.”
The twins were part of a Centennial team that went 23-5 last season, losing to Sierra Vista in the Sunset Region semifinals. They continued to develop while playing together for respected team Branch West (Calif.) over the summer.
Todd Allen said the twins have received early recruiting attention from Stanford, and a letter from UC Santa Barbara sat on the coach’s clipboard.
Centennial has plenty of talent, including senior leaders in the 6-6 Martin and swingman Neiman Lee. The Bulldogs hope it adds up to a memorable season.
“Last year, we lost to Sierra Vista, but this year, we take that as fuel,” Marcus Allen said. “We’re going to turn that into energy and go way past that.”