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5-star Texas PF target Jarrett Allen may not sign NLI

No one knows for sure when the nation's No. 15 prospect will finally end his recruitment.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In basketball and football, most athletes opt to sign a binding National Letter of Intent, but that may not be the case for Texas Longhorns power forward target Jarrett Allen, the Austin St. Stephen's product who may delay his decision past the late signing period that ends on Wednesday.

Of course, a decision from the rather cryptic 2016 McDonald's All-American could come down on Tuesday evening or at some point on Wednesday -- there was some buzz on Twitter about Allen choosing the Longhorns over the Houston Cougars after eliminating the Kansas Jayhawks, but nothing substantial enough to suggest that a decision is indeed that imminent from the 6'9, 210-pounder.

Allen is one of five highly-rated basketball recruits to remain unsigned with looming and fellow Texas big man Marques Bolden already announced that his public decision will come on Thursday, after the end of the signing period, so there is even some in-class precedence for waiting. Georgia power forward Romello While will visit Iowa State over Memorial Day weekend, so he won't sign either.

But where do things stand with Allen? There's not much to report since Allen rarely gives interviews and seems to speak so little to those around him that little information filters out about his decision-making process or behind-the-scenes thoughts, meaning that most analysis is merely guesswork.

The biggest factor with is supposedly the ability of coaches to develop big men. In that regard, that progress of Texas center Prince Ibeh caught Allen's attention this season, though Kansas head coach Bill Self certainly has some chops in that regard.

However, playing time will also factor into Allen's decision and that's where the Jayhawks start running into trouble -- there are two bigs currently in the class in Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot and with the emergence of Landen Lucas last season, the path towards heavy time on the court will be more difficult in Lawrence than in Austin.

As for Houston, the Cougars seemed to fall off in recent weeks. Once a perceived favorite for Allen in his 247Sports Crystal Ball, head coach Kelvin Sampson's program no longer holds any predictions as the 'Horns are now the overwhelming favorite:

Promoting Director of Operations Jai Lucas to head coach Shaka Smart's bench in replacement of demoted assistant Mike Morrell probably helped there, as Allen trains with John Lucas when in Houston.

If Texas does win out, proximity will be a major reason why -- not necessarily because Allen wants to stay close to home, but because he was able to watch the team's progress in person throughout the early parts of 2016 as a frequent visitor at Longhorns home games. Without all those visits, it would have been much more difficult for Smart to establish a comfort level with Allen that is high by all reports.

Assuming that Wednesday passes without Allen signing a National Letter of Intent, he would then sign a non-binding financial aid agreement with the school of his choice that would require the school to honor his scholarship, but would not bind him to the school. That decision would come at his leisure. The odds of him then backing out on his verbal commitment during the summer probably wouldn't be particularly high in such a scenario, but it would provide a little bit of extra drama.

But here's guessing that Smart wouldn't mind as long as he can land the player who now has the biggest role in determining the upside of the 2016-17 Texas basketball team.