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Don’t buy Timmy Allen’s soft-spoken routine: the Texas senior roars on a basketball court

No. 6 seed Texas faces No. 3 seed Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:40 p.m. Sunday

Brian Davis
Austin American-Statesman

MILWAUKEE — Nothing about Texas forward Timmy Allen is as simplistic as he seems.

Don’t buy that soft-spoken routine. “Timmy has his own dance," guard Courtney Ramey said. "You should see it someday. Big fun guy over here.”

When teammates poked Allen to get funky on the dais Saturday, he demurred, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Don’t know what they talkin’ about.”

On the court, Allen roars.

“They have a matchup nightmare in Allen,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said.

As Texas’ leading scorer and rebounder, Allen sure grabs a bunch of statistics but rarely the headlines. No frills, but no joke. The third-seeded Boilermakers (28-7) will have their hands full with Allen and the rest of the Longhorns (22-11) during Sunday’s second-round NCAA Tournament matchup.

Texas forward Timmy Allen, in his first season as a Longhorn after transferring from Utah, is leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He will lead Texas into Sunday's second-round NCAA Tournament game against Purdue.

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Whenever this season ends, credit the 6-foot-6 Allen for helping coach Chris Beard lay down a solid foundation upon which the Longhorns might build something great.

“I'm on the record with my love and appreciation and respect for Timmy Allen,” Beard said Saturday at Fiserv Forum. 

Chris Beard, Timmy Allen hit it off instantly

After three seasons at Utah, Allen was ready for a change — and a profile boost. His recruitment was as old-school as the 15-foot elbow jumpers Allen loves so much. “I don’t think me and Timmy did all that FaceTime, Zoom stuff,” Beard said. “It was just a couple phone calls and right to it. 

“I don’t want to speak for Timmy, but I think Timmy was everything that we were looking for and what we’re about,” Beard said. “I think Timmy will tell you the same thing about us.”

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Texas forward Timmy Allen drives to the basket as Virginia Tech guard Darius Maddox defends during the second half in Friday's UT victory in the the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. It was Texas' first NCAA win since 2014.

Can Beard rub some players the wrong way? Perhaps. Allen appears to be thriving in the friction. 

“You’ve just got to be tough, man,” Allen said. “This is the highest level I’ve ever played at, and Coach Beard is the best coach I've ever played for and expects a lot out of you. But he also gives you the belief to do so. He’s going to push you. He thinks more of you than you really do of yourself at times. What more could you want from a coach? 

“You want to be coached hard; you want to be held accountable,” he said in direct, no-nonsense fashion. “If it’s not for you, it’s not for you.”

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Who’s the real ‘Buckets’?

Seems as if the only thing that gets Allen triggered is a question about who created the “Buckets” nickname, Timmy or his older brother Teddy. The 6-foot-6 forward with unmistakable family facial features led New Mexico State into the NCAA’s second round in Buffalo, N.Y.

New Mexico State guard Teddy Allen celebrates after the Aggies defeated the Connecticut Huskies 70-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday.

The story goes that Teddy Allen started the nickname “Teddy Buckets” early in his college career. Uh, that’s news to Timmy.

“It’s great to see him hooping,” Allen said. “The story is I was the original Timmy Buckets. It’s been my Twitter handle since, like, seventh grade or something. Then he started going crazy, and it just went to Teddy Buckets.

“Either/or, we both get to the basket, for sure.”

Teddy Allen feels like an extended Longhorns family member. When New Mexico State’s name popped up on Selection Sunday, UT players let out a loud cheer at Shoal Creek Saloon. They were just as happy for Timmy and his brother as they were for themselves.

Here in Milwaukee, the Horns were glued to the bar TV in the Saint Kate hotel while New Mexico State finished off a first-round win over UConn. Beard said the coaching staff even delayed a couple of team meetings until that game was over.

“I love Teddy,” Beard said, “but I’m a Timmy guy.”

Timmy Allen impacted by his mother's death

He might be the youngest of Elise Allen’s three boys, but Timmy is incredibly poised. The single mother, who worked numerous jobs, died in 2016 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. 

That’ll make any kid grow up fast. Timmy was a junior in high school at the time in Mesa, Ariz. Most of the tattoos on his left arm are tributes to his mom. 

“As far as my teammates, we all have one common goal," Texas forward Timmy Allen said. "Has it been smooth all the time? No. Is it supposed to be? No. I just pride myself on producing."

Ray Arvizu Jr. stepped in and served as Timmy Allen’s godfather. Arvizu is the CEO of Mi Casa Su Casa, an Arizona-based company that helps abused and neglected children. Arvizu would drive Allen five hours in a van to California to practice and play AAU basketball for the Compton Magic. 

“I think it impacted tremendously,” Arvizu said in a phone interview late Saturday. “During the final year of her life, his focus and his attention to certain things was really spotty, as you can imagine. 

“I would say the one thing that it has affected positively is that Timmy is the first player that I’ve had when we would get off the phone, he makes it a point to say I love you and gives a hug,” Arvizu added. “Through this process, he’s come to appreciate those closest to him even more.”

Allen got a scholarship offer to Utah and averaged 15.6 points his first three seasons. A coaching change triggered the decision to go into the transfer portal. Allen landed at Texas and — like the other transfers Beard accepted — he had to accept a different role.

“The first week, literally five days after he gets down there, he calls me after he’s been on campus and says, ‘If you’re not all in here, it’s not going to work out for you,’” Arvizu said. “Timmy said, ‘I’ve been waiting for something like this.’ Basketball wise and community wise, it’s been the best thing he’s done.”

Allen’s scoring average dipped this season to 12.4 points while he grabbed 6.5 boards per game. To Allen, it didn’t matter. His desire to win trumped anything from an individual or statistical perspective.

Arvizu said he and Allen have not really spoken much about what’s next. Allen might return to UT, he might look at pro options. “I think he’s found home over there,” Arvizu said. “As a coach and someone who’s guided him through life, to hear that someone wants to call a place home, that’s the happiest of happy.”

Allen is happy. Maybe Austin could truly be home. 

“As far as my teammates, we all have one common goal. Has it been smooth all the time? No. Is it supposed to be? No,” Allen said. “I just pride myself on producing. I’ve obviously had a couple bad games this year, just like everybody else. I just try to pride myself on being an everyday guy.”

Big fun guy looking for more big fun wins.

“Sometimes they say what I do is quiet,” Allen added. “Then, you look at the stat sheet, I guess. I'm just trying to help my team win.”

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email or @BDavisAAS.