By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Jenna Allen was pivotal in restoring Bedford North Lawrence’s girls basketball glory, providing the power as the Stars won back-to-back Class 4A state championships. So she really doesn’t owe a debt to anyone.
Those roars have not died, perhaps never will in her memory. That’s why the former Indiana All-Star and Michigan State standout – now destined for a professional career in Spain – feels the need to pay it forward with the next generation.
Allen, who will report to Europe in September, will host her own All-Star Camp on Aug. 17 at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence County. The camp is open to girls entering grades K-8. She feels a sense of responsibility to share her knowledge and experience with future Stars.
“I really want to give back to the community,” Allen said. “I feel very tied to Bedford, growing up here. I have a strong connection, and I want to give young kids the characteristics and fundamentals of what a team can do for them later in life.
“My whole camp is ‘Back to school, back to work.’ What I’m going to emphasize is kids doing well in the classroom, then doing well on the court. It translates. When you do well in the classroom, or in all aspects of your life, basketball will flow into that. You will see tremendous improvement.”
Allen’s basketball pedigree is impeccable. At BNL, she scored 1,495 career points (now fourth in program history), grabbed a record 943 rebounds, and combined with former teammates Dominque McBryde and Alexa Bailey to win 104 games.
At Michigan State, she finished her career with 1,098 points. She is one of only 13 Spartans to score 1,000 points and collect 500 rebounds. During her senior campaign, she totaled 12.5 points. 6.5 rebounds, and shot 49 percent from the field.
It would benefit young girls to listen. That’s exactly how Allen got her start.
“When I was younger, I remember going to the BNL Stars camp, just looking at the girls on the high school team and how they inspired me as a young lady, looking up to them as role models,” Allen said. “Now that’s what I want to do for the community.
“It makes me very gracious and it humbles me a lot, how I can help them on the court and off the court. Giving back is one of the things you can do when you get older, when you can.”
Allen plans to have several “special” guests involved during the 5-hour camp (9 a.m.-2 p.m.), former teammates who have played on the college or professional level.
“When I was in high school, I really understood what basketball means in this state and this community,” she said. “I have a lot of experience with basketball, and played in a lot of big games, and I can help young girls reach their dreams, give them advice to get better.”
Campers are encouraged to pre-register at www.jennaallenbasketballcamps.com.