Men's Basketball

Jarrett Allen to Texas fans: ‘First thing I’ll say is thank you’

Former Longhorn offers praise to the UT fan base for sticking with team after disappointing season

Posted May 13th, 2017

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CHICAGO — Former Texas forward Jarrett Allen spoke with the American-Statesman on Friday during the NBA scouting combine. Here are some selected questions and answers from a half-hour interview at the InterContinental hotel:

What would you want to say to all Texas fans?

First thing I’ll say is thank you, of course. I have to thank them for all the support, even through the negative times. Even when we went on that seven- or eight-game losing streak. But they were there for Texas Tech when we won our first road game, so you’ve just got to thank them for being along the whole ride.

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Texas was 11-22 last season. What kind of future does this program have under coach Shaka Smart?

It’s nothing but up. He’s recruiting the right guys. Last year was the last year of coach (Rick) Barnes’ guys. So he finally gets to bring in the guys that he wants to recruit. Once he gets his program under his feet, it should start taking off.

Texas freshman Andrew Jones (1), Jarrett Allen (31) and Georgia’s Mike Edwards (32) during the Bulldogs’ game against Texas at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. (Photo by Cory A. Cole)

Are you helping to recruit five-star center Mo Bamba?

No. With me, I want him to make his own decision. I don’t want to try and influence him in any way. I want him to make the best decision for him. I played with him on the (Team USA) Under-18 team, so I just want to be there as a friend. If he needs me, I’ll support him.

What’s a typical meeting with an NBA team like?

Here, they try to make sure you’re comfortable so they can get what they want to know. It’s been easy to open up to them, because you have to do it. It’s nothing bad.

If you really think about the process they go through to meet you, I’m really not a stranger to them. They’ve done all their background research that needs to be done. What they’re looking for is you not lying to them. That’s really all there is.

Where there any crazy questions?

They want to get to know your family, your background, your work ethic, how are you going to respond to things, just adversity you’ve been through. There really hasn’t been anything crazy. There was a math problem. It was more of like a trick question.

When did you realize you could potentially be a one-and-done player?

I stayed true from the beginning when I came in. I told coach Smart I wanted to have the best freshman season I could have, not focus on the future. And then halfway through the Big 12 conference season, it started to become an option for me. I’d say about the Arkansas game (on Dec. 17) that some things started to pick up for me. To be where I wanted to be, I had to play on this level.

You are represented by Derrick Powell and Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports and Entertainment. What went into that decision?

It’s a rough process. All the agents — and I’m just going to be open — everybody offered that they can do the best for you. At the end of the day, it’s who do you want to be with? Who do you think is going to do the right thing? Derrick and Jim, they did everything the right way. They came though Shaka, got to know my family and just did everything right.

Fans were lined up several hours before the doors opened at Gregory Gym for the preseason Orange-White scrimmage. (Brian Davis/American-Statesman staff)

What was the best moment for you at Texas?

The Orange-White game (at Gregory Gym). Not even the game; before the game, we saw how long the line was and how crowded it was when fans came to watch us play. It was amazing.

Anybody else you want to thank?

The city of Austin, I want to say thank you to them. Can’t thank them enough for the year.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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