Photo courtesy of Hofstra University Athletics.
By David Cordova
When two high school teammates get together again for a battle between their respective schools, there’s always a feeling of nostalgia that comes out. But then of course, the feeling of competitiveness also sets in.
The scene was the David S. Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead, New York, on November 21st and Hofstra was hosting Cal State-Fullerton. It was a cold night and the campus was a ghost town, due to students being away for Thanksgiving break.
On this night, Kyle Allman, Jr. and Justin Wright-Foreman have something to be thankful for. It is the opportunity they have to see each other again on the court. Three years ago, both were seniors at the High School of Construction and were two of the best players in all of Queens and throughout New York City.
In the present day, the two are now seniors in college, playing out their final seasons before graduation and also, before possible pro careers. Last season, Wright-Foreman averaged 24.5 points per game and was the fifth-leading scorer in the nation. Allman averaged 19.5 points and the Titans to the Big West Conference championship and a first-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Those accolades led the two to this night and this night on Hofstra’s home court. In the beginning of the game, the battle between both players was reminiscent of a streetball game, as both players got the ball. It wasn’t anything scripted, but both players matched basket after basket after basket.
However, the score was mainly in favor of Wright-Foreman and Hofstra, as the Pride held a 12-point lead at halftime, 41-29. Then, in the second half, it would be more of the same. At one point in the half, both of them had matched their score with 28 points.
Allman provided the crowd and his team with a performance reminiscent of the way Reggie Miller did with the Indiana Pacers for many years in the NBA, launching shots as if they were grenades trying to hit their intended target. Wright-Foreman would gain most of his points with drives to the basket and free throws.
When all was said and done, Hofstra would emerge victorious, winning 80-71. However, the focus was the battle of former teammates, as Allman had 38 points and Wright-Foreman had 37 points.
When asked how he felt about his homecoming, Allman replied, “I’m from here, so it felt good to put on for the city. Felt good to play against my old high school teammate, everything just felt good.”
“I was pumped, I can’t lie,” said Wright-Foreman about the game. “It wasn’t really on my mind, going against my brother or whatever, but it was more so, I just wanted to get the win at the end of the day, that was the most important thing.”
When asked if it were like a streetball battle, Wright-Foreman added: “No, this wasn’t one of those games, this is a top-notch collegiate game between two great teams, two NCAA teams and two powerhouses that – you know, they [Cal State-Fullerton] went to the Tournament – they’re still not getting the credit that they deserve, so this is one for the books.”
On Allman getting plenty of recognition after being lightly-recruited, he replied. “It just goes to show that college teams slept on him, Kyle is a terrific player, but more so, a terrific person. He’s a great guy, who’s work ethic is amazing. If so, whatever overseas or NBA team gets him will be stunned.”
And there you have it, the showdown that took place in Hempstead, Long Island, turned out better than either of the former teammates could’ve imagined. This was a battle that both of them will remember forever and one of the best games for either program that they represent.