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Tony Allen shows off Chicago grit with Grizzlies

Tony Allen shows off Chicago grit with Grizzlies

Like many high school players aspiring to go pro, Tony Allen was confident that his offensive prowess could carry him. Playing in the Chicago Public League, however, helped him realize that his strengths were on the other end of the floor.

While playing for Crane on the Near West Side, Allen routinely faced a series of prolific prospects that included Westinghouse's Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey, King's Imari Sawyer and Dunbar's Jason Straight.

"When I faced those guys in Public League basketball, my defensive instincts kicked in," Allen said. "You didn't want buzz around town that those guys got the best of you. It gave me that competitive...