At some point during the long, winding, unpredictable and unorthodox recruitment of Jarrett Allen, Texas men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart had to ask himself a simple question.
Is Allen worth it?
Five-star rated McDonald’s All-Americans aren’t readily available for the masses. So if it meant waiting on Allen, a 6-foot-9 star at St. Stephen’s, so be it.
Allen did not sign a letter of intent during the fall or spring windows, as almost all recruits do. But he did submit non-binding scholarship paperwork to UT officials on Friday, according to a source familiar with Allen’s decision.
Allen, who has done virtually no interviews during his recruitment, could not be reached Friday. His only public comment came via Twitter: “Damn it’s early, summer don’t help sleep schedules.”
Texas coaches are not allowed to talk about prospective athletes until the UT compliance department approves the recruit’s paperwork. St. Stephen’s coach La-Mont King did not respond to an interview request.
But plenty of others were talking about Allen.
“Yessir! Welcome to the brotherhood @JarrettAllen55,” former UT forward Myles Turner tweeted.
Fellow incoming freshman Andrew Jones tweeted, “Welcome to the family little brother.”
Allen started his prep career at Round Rock, but transferred to St. Stephen’s. He averaged 21.4 points and 13.3 rebounds as a junior and became the American-Statesman’s 2015 Central Texas player of the year.
Allen posted similar numbers as a senior and eventually scored 33 points in the Southwest Preparatory Conference title game win over Bellaire Episcopal.
Allen was a member of Team USA at the Nike Hoops Summit in April. He and fellow UT signee James Banks will participate in the Team USA Under-18 training camp this summer. That team, coached by Smart, will participate in the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile, on July 19-23.
Smart went to great lengths to bend over backward to attract Allen, who attended multiple UT games last season. Smart spoke at St. Stephen’s annual athletic banquet. He also reshuffled the coaching staff by promoting Jai Lucas and demoting long-time friend Mike Morrell when it became clear Lucas and Allen had formed a friendship.
Jai Lucas, the son of former NBA player John Lucas, also has ties to the Houston-area AAU basketball community.
Assistant coach Darrin Horn would be labeled Allen’s lead recruiter, but Smart played a heavy role, just as he does with all recruits.
It’s unclear whether Allen considers himself a one-and-done player or someone who would stay at Texas for several years to develop. All that matters at this point is he’s a Longhorn.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.