PORTSMOUTH — Ky’re Allison has had a high school career of milestones on the basketball court at Portsmouth High School, and those milestones all culminated into one on Wednesday morning. The all-time leading scorer in Portsmouth boys basketball history officially accepted an offer from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, Wednesday morning in the PHS library.
Allison was offered a scholarship from the Thundering Herd last week.
As Allison sat at the table holding his offer from Marshall, surrounded by his parents, he took a breath, picked up a pen and signed his name, taking in the moment.
“I sat there and just thought I’m really about to do this,” Allison said. “I’m about to sign to go play basketball for an NCAA Division I school. It’s like a dream come true.”
Marshall had shown its interest in the Portsmouth senior early in the season.
“One of the coaches was on me, he was recruiting me real, real hard,” Allison said. “He was always on me about my grades, and he told me to keep them (Marshall) in mind.”
Allison’s mother and father, Nikki Jackson and Corey Allison, were on hand for their son’s signing. Corey Allison was all smiles as his son accepted Marshall’s offer.
“It was a happy feeling,” Corey Allison said. “It’s just a blessing to be in the position to even have this moment. It seems just like yesterday he was playing Little League. Now the moment has come, and it has been worth the ride. We’re going to continue this blessing, and hopefully accomplish more goals.”
Corey hopes his son will be able to be a role model for other kids in Portsmouth, and in Scioto County.
“Hopefully he can set that standard for the rest of the kids coming up, and be that model for them coming up, and having more kids come up behind him,” Corey said. “I think it’s a good time, not only for us, but for the City of Portsmouth, Scioto County, there’s a lot of talent around here and hopefully this will be that outbreak.”
The elder Allison hopes his son’s accomplishments will also help motivate other kids in the area to want to accomplish their goals, and not feel defeated because someone discouraged them or told them they couldn’t, or it was impossible for them to reach their goals.
There was a time when both Allisons and Jackson wondered if a singing day would ever come, after Ky’re broke his leg going into his junior year.
“It was a whole bunch of obstacles, but a whole bunch of blessings,” Corey said. “It’s been a great reward. It has been a long ride, and it just shows how the Lord works in mysterious ways. It’s just a beautiful blessing, and I’m just happy.”
Ky’re’s mother, Nikki Jackson was overwhelmed as she watched her son take the next step in his academic and athletic career.
“I just feel overwhelmed and blessed,” Jackson said. “I’m very blessed and happy, there’s all kinds of emotions running through, my baby is getting ready to leave and go to school. I’m happy for him, and excited, and just ready to enjoy the next level.”
Jackson admitted to being stunned when she found out about the scholarship offer, but has since moved on to anticipation for what’s next for her son.
“I’m just happy for him, and ready to see him perform at the next level, and see him work harder and succeed,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be different than high school basketball, and we know that, and we’ve already been telling him that.
“I just can’t wait for everybody to get to go and watch him play.”
Allison’s parents both have collegiate basketball experience, as they played for Shawnee State University. Their experience on the court in a collegiate setting will help the younger Allison transition to the college level.
Portsmouth basketball coach Gene Collins knows Ky’re has beat the odds, having received a scholarship to play basketball for an NCAA Division I school like Marshall University.
“When you look at the number of kids who get Division I scholarships, he’s beat the odds,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of great players who never get this opportunity. That’s the thing that’s going through my mind, is that he beat the odds. He’s blessed and fortunate that he’s got the opportunity that most never get.”
Collins also praised Allison’s character, which he believes really sets the young man apart from so many others.
“He’s such a selfless kid,” Collins said. “We knew he was special when he came in as a junior high player, and we figured he’d play varsity as a freshman. He was just so far advanced than most kids that he played with, but for him to play here at Portsmouth for four years, and handle things the way he did, is just a tribute to him.”
Collins believes Allison will be able to make an impact at Marshall.
“They like him, and I look for him to get some minutes as a freshman,” Collins said. “He’s a local kid that everybody likes, and I think a lot of people will go watch him. Hopefully, if he can have some of the same success that Austin Loop has, another local kid that’s down there, it will help them out, as well as Ky’re, tremendously.”
Allison is aware of the opportunity he has been given, and realizes there will be a lot of work needed to succeed both on the court, and in the classroom.
“I’m not going to stop working,” Allison said. “I’m just going to keep getting better. It’s like a job, you basically have to keep working, so you can keep your job.”
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.