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Former Husky prepares for first season with VCU

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WAKE FOREST — Heritage High School alum Jarren McAllister is currently wrapping up his final basketball prep season with Massanutten Military Academy to play for Virginia Commonwealth University this upcoming season.

McAllister helped lead Heritage to a 25-5 record and a 4A state championship game appearance in 2018, while averaging 17.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He finished his high school career with an average of 13.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game over 114 games. McAllister also starred for the Garner Road AAU program.

McAllister originally committed to play for Virginia Tech University when he first graduated from high school in 2018. Since the Hokies had a full roster with fifth-year seniors, they asked McAllister to play one season of prep basketball at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia before he could register with the school.

However, Virginia Tech’s old coaching staff left and there was miscommunication about McAllister playing for the Hokies this year. Instead, McAllister decommitted from Virginia Tech and signed with VCU on Nov. 14 after a scrimmage game with Oak Hill Military Academy.

“I just love the type of energy head coach Mike Rhoades has,” McAllister said. “VCU is family-oriented. Coach Rhoades’ values matched my values. He and his staff can push me to the next level. I have family that lives nearby and the fan base is electrifying.”

During his one season with Massanutten, McAllister said he learned tons of basketball qualities that will help improve his game at the collegiate level.

“What I learned most about my prep year was that in order for you to achieve greatness with a team it’s that you have to have a good pace and a good mindset with being a couple of steps ahead,” McAllister said. “My coach helped me understand my options and improving my I.Q. and my shot.”

McAllister’s high school teammate, Jayden Gardner, is entering his sophomore season at East Carolina University. In his freshman year, Gardner averaged 16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. McAllister said he’s excited about potentially playing against Gardner as a VCU Ram.

“Jayden and I have been talking,” McAllister said. “He has shared some knowledge and we’re excited for each other and wish the best for each other.”

Last year, VCU went 18-15 overall and tied for fifth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. McAllister said he wants to help the Rams go even further this year and he can’t wait to contribute right away.

“I want to win the Atlantic 10 Conference and tournament,” McAllister said. “I want to get a chance to compete in March Madness. I have to make sure I’m bringing my 100 percent effort and helping my team as best as I can.”