Even before he could graduate from high school, Jarrett Allen probably made a handful of college coaches have plenty of sleepless nights. That was due to the sheer indecisiveness that Allen showed when it came to actually committing to a university. While it’s common for elite high school prospects to hold out on declaring until March or even April, Allen was a slightly different case as he wasn’t able to make his decision until early June.
On June 3rd, Allen ended his long indecisive streak by deciding to commit to the University of Texas. For the University of Texas, the Allen signing marked the high point of arguably Texas’ best recruiting class since Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph in 2010. Alongside Allen, the Longhorns brought in fellow McDonald’s All-American Andrew Jones and solid four-star big James Banks.
Although both Jones and Banks are very solid prospects, Allen unarguably stands as the top of that heap. Standing 6’11 and 225 pounds with a phenomenal frame, Allen kinda stands as this incredible prototype of a modern-day big that NBA teams around the league just drool about. For example, Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond has spend the last half-decade compiling players that have frames similar to Allen.
Allen’s phenomenal frame has allowed him to be a dominating two-way threat whether he’s playing for St. Stephen’s Episcopal or with Team USA at this summer’s FIBA U-18 Americas Championships. During that FIBA tournament, Allen impressed by averaging a near double-double with 10.6 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block on 46% shooting in only 24 minutes per game. That impressive performance helped Team USA dominate during that entire tournament on their way to a gold medal win.
While Allen’s great frame has definitely helped him impress at various levels, the 6’11 big is much more than a huge wingspan. Looking away from that phenomenal frame, Allen also exhibits terrific quickness and athleticism for a player his size. On either end of the floor, Allen does a great job of moving around the court with great fluidity.
The biggest example of Allen’s incredible mobility is on the defensive end, as the big seems to be comfortable with switching off between defending on the paint or perimeter. Inside the paint, Allen shines by combining quick footwork with that incredible wingspan to basically thwart any attack from the opposition. When the opposition is driving to the left and Allen is positioned near the right block, the 6’11 big is still able to watch the cutter and make the necessary play.
As a perimeter defender, Allen shows some promise as someone that would be able to hedge on pick-and-rolls. Unlike most other young bigs, Allen shows a willingness to go out near the perimeter. That comfort level is probably due to how Allen knows how to utilize his quick footwork and long arms, two huge proponents of a good hedging big.
However, Allen will need to work on his defensive stance, as he’s currently a little too hunched over when he’s defending on the perimeter.
Transitioning over to the offensive end, Allen shines as a pick-and-roll guard’s best friend. Allen stands as a tremendous target for those guards due to his lanky frame, soft hands and fantastic mobility. That incredible trifecta allows Allen to catch anything thrown his direction. Once he receives that pass, Allen can either utilize his solid footwork to get an easy bucket or lay down a vicious alley-oop slam. That second example is in the play below.
Another way that Allen can utilize his solid frame and athleticism on this end of the floor is as an offensive rebounder. During that FIBA U-18 Americas Championships, Allen averaged an impressive 2.4 offensive rebounds in 23.8 minutes per game. Although his lanky frame definitely gives Allen an advantage over most bigs, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that he works his ass off to collect those offensive boards. An example of that is in the play below, as Allen boxes out a Brazillian big which allows him to capture the offensive rebound and put in the easy bucket.
Another area where Allen has shined on the offensive end is through work in the post-up. Allen looks very comfortable when he’s posting up on an opposing big, as he uses smooth footwork to get in the proper position needed to score. When he does get in position, Allen shines due to being ambidextrous in the way that he can show a soft touch around the rim with both his left and right hand.
As we near the start of the upcoming college basketball season, Jarrett Allen and the Texas Longhorns will look to be huge factors in a jam-packed Big 12. Although they’ll face fierce competition from teams like Kansas or Baylor, the terrific talent of Jarrett Allen might be enough to help push the Longhorns to heights tat they haven’t seen in a long time.