Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Meet the Horns: Memory of Timmy Allen’s mother fueled his passion at Utah, now at Texas

After three subpar seasons with the Utes, Allen ready for new challenge. ‘I just wanted to compete at the highest level’

Utah transfer Timmy Allen became a first-team All-Pac-12 performer last season and finished fifth in the league in scoring. He transferring to Texas during the offseason after a coaching change with the Utes.

Timmy Allen figures that if his mother, Elise, were still alive today, “she wouldn’t believe I’m at the University of Texas.”

“I wouldn’t believe it, either,” Allen said Wednesday.

And yet, there was one of the Pac-12’s leading scorers, sitting in Texas practice gear next to new UT coach Chris Beard.

Elise Allen, who died of cancer at age 49, would be proud of how her son broke through and became one of the Pac-12’s best at Utah. She’d likely be ecstatic how Allen took charge of his future after Utah changed coaches and put himself on the transfer market.

And she’d be beaming at where the 21-year-old is today — advancing his basketball career at Texas.

Men's schedule:Texas’ schedule features Gonzaga, Seton Hall, Stanford and one night at Gregory Gym

“I know she’s happier than I am that I’m here,” Allen said inside Cooley Pavilion. “She has everything to do with why I’m here and what I’m doing and how I do it. She’s the heart of my heart. I am her. She lives through me. So that’s kind of what I'm trying to bleed into this program.”

Allen is one of seven new transfers Beard brought to Austin. The Longhorns plan on having each new player speak to reporters over the coming weeks before the season begins. Beard can’t complete his mission of true fan engagement if the fans don’t know who they’re rooting for.

“To me at the core of all this is the fan base getting to know our players,” Beard said. “When the fans get invested, it’s when they’re emotionally invested. It’s when it becomes personal.”

One-on-one with Chris Beard: Texas coach talks recruiting, defense and energizing fans

Allen, a 6-foot-6 forward from Mesa, Ariz., originally wanted to play at UCLA but there wasn’t mutual recruiting interest. Beard tried to recruit Allen to Texas Tech, along with schools like Utah and Iowa State. Allen wound up at Utah under coach Larry Krystkowiak.

Former Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak and forward Timmy Allen (1) react on the way to the locker room at halftime against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Jon M. Huntsman Center on March 6, 2021.

The death of Allen’s mother in high school rocked his entire world.

“My recruitment was really good for a while, my junior year, and then my mom passed, and I took a couple months off,” Allen said. “I just slipped a little bit in my game. 

“Utah was one of the schools that stuck around during that whole period, and I could do nothing but be faithful to them for that,” Allen added. “Coach K, I’ve got a lot of respect for. He stuck with me through three years. He laid it out on the line for me and let me do what I had to do to elevate my game.”

Allen game grew over time as he became one of the Pac-12’s most consistent scoring threats. He averaged 12.2 points as a freshman, 17.3 points as a sophomore and 17.2 as a junior, eventually earning first-team all-conference honors. 

But Krystkowiak was fired in March after three straight .500-ish seasons. Allen suddenly had to find a new home. He landed with Beard, who was now at Texas.

“I just wanted to compete at the highest level,” Allen said. “We struggled (at Utah), and I’m a winner, and I’m looking to win championships. I’m looking to be surrounded by the best players in the country every day, and that’s something new for me here.”

Allen said he and Beard never discussed specific roles. In fact, Allen didn’t truly realize the Horns would have so many incoming transfers. He simply trusted Beard to “put together the army that we have and the guys around us who know we can win.”

“I want that tough practice every day,” Allen said. “I want to be coached hard every day. And I want to be surrounded by great people and players every day. So being here is just the best fit for me.”

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