On Monday morning, Texas Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart and big men James Banks and Jarrett Allen flew from Austin to Colorado Springs to participate in the USA Basketball Men’s U18 training camp in preparation for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile.
Not bad finally seeing Allen in burnt orange, eh?
The camp runs through the 18th as Smart and his staff attempt to cut the roster in half. By all reports, Banks and Allen are already making an impression through the first two days in making their respective cases to make the final 12.
In a Monday scrimmage, Allen reportedly led all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, exactly the type of efficiency that could provide a huge boost for the ‘Horns in 2016-17.
Call the “best big” in the first session, it seems that Allen hasn’t played much since the Hoops Summit back in April.
Even with that time off, when Allen suits up in burnt orange for Smart the long and rangy freshman has to make his presence felt in a variety of ways, in addition to showing off a more diverse offense game. It sounds like he did that on Monday:
On Tuesday, Allen showed off a recently-developed left hand by hitting hook shots in drills while stationary and on the move. There’s even video evidence!
Since Allen isn’t known as a post threat with a variety of moves, if he can develop shot credibility from 18 feet and attack off the bounce, he could help the offense substantially while working into the space that Smart’s ability to play four shooters around him would create.
At this point, with months to go until the basketball season starts, even seeing relatively ordinary drills with Banks and Allen shot faking and then dunking is a sweet nectar to cut that bitter offseason taste:
If one or both manage to make the U18 team? Well, that provide a fantastic opportunity for development on a big stage and increase the expectations for early contributions.
All in all, longtime basketball writer Dick Weiss “can’t wait” for a look at this season's version of the Longhorns after the Monday performances by Banks and Allen.