When you meet Immaculata sophomore André Allen, you feel his sense of purpose and his drive to improve himself. As an exercise science major, he is drawn to understanding how the human body works and is constantly challenging himself to maintain fitness and a proper diet.
The strive for well-being may stem more from playing guard for the men’s basketball team than from his major. With nearly one academic year under his belt, he has benefitted from the business side of his classes as much as the science component which will serve him well as he seeks a career as a sports agent.
“I want to be around sports for the rest of my life,” he states matter-of-factly. As a sports agent, André would have the opportunity to advise other athletes and help them explore a path that will positively impact them in the future. Of course, a glimmer of hope is ever-present that he could play professional basketball.
André’s professional athlete aspirations are understandable. He grew up watching his cousin, Tamika Catchings, play pro basketball for WNBA’s Indiana Fever, eventually winning Olympic Gold, and becoming known as “one of the greatest women’s basketball players in the world,” boasts André with great admiration.
As passionate as he is about the game, André is equally passionate about his teammates. Transferring to Immaculata after his freshman year at a community college, he appreciates the brotherhood that he feels among his teammates both on and off the court. André’s closest friend is Asa Kitchen ‘21, guard for the Mighty Mac and his high school classmate from Mastery Charter school in Philadelphia.
“You always need a best friend,” he jokes with a warm smile.
In addition to his teammates, André has deep appreciation and esteem for his coach, Jayson Hyman ’09, who played on Immaculata’s first men’s basketball team.
“He teaches us more than basketball–– he teaches us how to win in life. He teaches us how to be responsible men and how to be accountable for our actions,” André says. In addition to the off-court lessons, André has learned to put the team first. “There are no egos on our team.”
During the basketball season, André spends at least 50 hours a week practicing, watching game film, lifting weights and shooting baskets. His dedication has paid off and earned him Mighty Mac of the Week title for his career-high 28-points against Gwynedd-Mercy in January.
He laughs when asked about the recognition. “It was humbling because it showed how much hard work I put into the game, how much time I spent watching film. I was pleased,” he admits.
In the classroom, André soaks up information on how consumers think in his Economics class and is learning finance and how to handle money in his Business Marketing class.
He is also planning for his future by following the successful career of sports agent Rich Paul, who represents elite athletes such as LeBron James and Ben Simmons. André appreciates how Paul worked his way up from the minor leagues and he would like to follow in his footsteps.He is confident that the business classes he is taking will help him as he pursues his career. Retaining strong relationships with his former coaches, André also hopes to coach basketball so that he can continue to be around the game he loves.
André’s work ethic, inspired by Kevin Durante, should serve as the standard for young men to excel. He understands that one slip-up and there is always “someone there to take your spot. In order to be great you can take no days off,” he concedes. Although he works hard and deserves the success that will certainly come his way, André is grateful for his coach, teammates and the Immaculata community. He feels comfort in the warm, loving environment that Immaculata offers and enjoys a smaller school with less distractions. If he isn’t improving his game of basketball, then he is studying and catching up with class work. With his disciplined routine, it is highly unlikely anyone or anything could distract André on his life’s journey.