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5-star Allen commits to Texas

Jarrett Allen. (edit by Shane Ware)
Jarrett Allen. (edit by Shane Ware)

AUSTIN — There’s nothing like home. At least to Jarrett Allen.

The Texas Longhorns Men’s Basketball team got a big commitment today when local 5-star product, Allen, from St. Stephens Academy in Austin, made his UT decision official.

Allen, a 6-foot-8 power forward, is coming off a prep career which saw him earn McDonald’s All-American honors as well as being a key component on Team USA during the Nike Hoop Summit this spring.

Strengths: Allen’s versatility is what has made him one of the top forward prospects in the country. Jarrett is able to shoot, pass, rebound and defend at a high level. Jarrett has done a great job of extending his range out to the three point line where he has to be guarded, but he’s equally comfortable in the lane facing the basket. As a rebounder, he loads well and chases rebounds in space. As a facilitator/passer, Jarrett has solid vision and makes good choices where he can be a safety valve at the high post. Defensively, he’s working on being aggressive and has good timing to go along with very good length on the interior. He’s an impressive player with still solid upside.

Weaknesses: Jarrett needs to get stronger, but he will. He also will need to get better at putting the ball on the floor against pressure and show the same type of comfort against double teams in college that he’s generally shown in high school. As his shooting range progresses, he’ll be tough to guard, but it’s unlikely he’ll shoot at too high of a clip from deep early.

Fit to System: Like most players at his level, there are few places where a guy like Jarrett wouldn’t be a fit, but he’s a great match for Shaka Smart, schematically. Jarrett’s basketball IQ and versatility on both ends of the floor will allow the staff to put him in a number of situations where he can attack defenses and be an aggressive defender/help defender when necessary. To maximize (both for himself and the program), Jarrett will need to become a proficient ball handler against man as Texas has the shooters to help him avoid double teams, but Jarrett will have to be stronger with the ball.

Aftermath: It’s difficult to truly quantify how big of a coup Allen is for Shaka Smart and this program. Obviously that’s two-fold. On the one hand, Allen’s a local kid and locking down that caliber of player from your own backyard is crucial for any program. On the other, if Texas wants to compete at the highest level, Allen is the type of recruit Texas needs to be getting. Regardless, Jarrett is a near perfect fit as a big forward who the Longhorns can pair with their talented backcourt. Huge addition for the program and a nice job by Shaka of getting this done.

Allen had offers from, essentially, every major program in the country and chose the Longhorns over Kansas, Houston, Kentucky and Notre Dame, among others. But in the end, staying close to home was the most appealing.

There’s nothing quite like it.