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Q&A with Malik Allen

Malik Allen, former NBA player and co-founder of inRecruit.com.

Malik Allen may not have been a star player in the NBA but that doesn’t mean his NBA career wasn’t full of excitement.

After four years at Villanova University, Allen went undrafted in the 2000 NBA Draft. He began his career in the ABA with the San Diego Wildfire in 2000. On July 20, 2001 he was signed by the Miami Heat of the NBA. He stayed with the Heat until he was traded on February 24, 2005 to the Charlotte Bobcats. The Chicago Bulls signed him to a two-year deal on September 2, 2005. Over two seasons with the Bulls Allen played in 114 regular season games making 21 starts and averaged 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. On September 10, 2007 the New Jersey Nets signed Allen to a one-year contract. On February 19, 2008, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. On July 17, 2008 he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. On July 31, 2009 he was traded to the Denver Nuggets. On September 16, 2010, the Orlando Magic signed Allen to a one year deal and this would end up being Malik’s final stop.

I got a chance to catch up with Malik, who also is the cofounder this great recruiting website www.inRecruit.com.

Q: After not being drafted in 2000 and having to settle for the ABA did you think you would ever get a chance to play in the NBA?

M.A: During that year it depended on the day you asked me. The NBA was the ultimate goal but I loved to play and was going to continue regardless. The mission was to learn as much as possible and work as hard as I could to give myself an opportunity if/when it presented itself. That year in the ABA I had played well enough where a few teams noticed and Miami invited me to a free agent camp they were having. That was the opportunity that I was hoping for.

Q: After much success at Shawnee High School and a solid 3 years at Villanova how disappointed were you to not get drafted in 2000? Did you feel you deserved to be drafted that year?

M.A: I was more than disappointed. Ill never forget that night. It was 2 friends, my now wife, and all my family watching. The night started out great. We were all sitting around watching the first round and talking about the teams and if those players were fits. Then as the night went on anxiety started building as the draft continued. If I was going to be drafted it would have been in the latter part of the second round and of course I didn’t. When it was over I just sat by myself. I thought I should have been drafted. But just because I thought so doesn’t mean that I should have. I made a promise to myself that I was going to give it everything I had. The next day I was back in the gym working out.

Q: How heavily were you recruited out of high school? What did Villanova have that the other schools did not have?

M.A: I was recruited heavily. I will never forget my first 2 college letters were from Georgetown and Syracuse when I was a freshman in High School. From there it was a whirlwind. Villanova just seemed right. I didn’t really want to go far from home. The coaching staff was great. I was recruited by Paul Hewitt but I always talked to the other assistants and of course coach Lap. I also new the guys on the team. I had worked out with Alvin Williams and Jason Lawson many times when I was still in High School. I played against John Celestand in New Jersey and Howard Brown was a teammate of mine at Nike camp when we were younger. Then obviously Tim Thomas, Brian Lynch and I were the same years in Jersey as well so I was very comfortable. All of the puzzle pieces just fit.

Q: Who was the best teammate you ever played with in your basketball career? (College or Pro)

M.A: That’s always a tough question. I have played with so many great great players who were even better teammates. I wouldn’t know where to start and end. I have been very fortunate here.

Q: You were what many people would call a journey man in your 10 year NBA career. Did you enjoy meeting new teammates and coaches or was this type of career stressful due to the constant change of scenery?

M.A: First and foremost I loved meeting new teammates and coaches. The NBA is the pinnacle. Within the league are the best players and coaches in the world. Everybody gets to see how these guy play and coach on T.V. The privilege to see how Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade, Dirk Nowitzki or Ben Wallace prepare day in and day out was unbelievable. Then to start my career with a Pat Riley and end with Stan Van Gundy is crazy when I think about it sometimes. I mean the list goes on and on. I have been fortunate.

Q: You played for the New Jersey Nets for one year in 2007. How was it playing for your home state? Was that your favorite team to play for? If not, who was your favorite team?

M.A: I loved playing in Jersey. It was my home state so it was exciting to have an opportunity to go back and play where I had so many great memories.  It was definitely one of my favorite teams.

Q: In 2006 you started 6 playoffs games for the Chicago Bulls. How does playoff basketball differ from basketball played in the regular season?

M.A: Well the biggest thing is the intensity. Also, I would say the preparation is more intense. You can never afford to give away possessions on defense or offense in the playoffs so preparation and attention to detail are crucial. It’s one of the messages that I tell young people now.Take pride in preparation so it becomes habit. Never take it for granted because you will need it to be a part of your every day life as you get older.

Q: What drove you and Joseph Rocco to want to put together a recruiting website for athletes, coaches, and fans on every level?

M.A: Well we have always talked about trying to do something together going back to college days. Ultimately, we wanted to do something that really has the potential to make a strong impact in a space we love. Early on the whole game was talking to coaches at all levels and getting feedback on how to develop a useful tool. What we came up with was a way for coaches to a have platform that encouraged authentic connections amongst the different roles, organization of day to day tasks, and getting relevant recruiting news daily. For the athletes, it was about starting to build your brand on a platform built to help maximize your exposure in a social way that they are used to now. We as adults are used to Linkedln for business and connecting. We want those same principles to apply to the recruiting game. Fast forward to now and we are excited about where we are going as a company. We feel grateful because of all of our relationships we have in the space and those people willing to help early on. It’s been an unbelievable ride already.

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