Regardless of whether the Texas Longhorns basketball team retains the services of Jarrett Allen and James Banks for the 2017-18 season, head coach Shaka Smart will have a remarkable set of rim protectors this season.
Both players were among the 18 selected by Smart to participate in the July training camp ahead of final roster cuts for the USA men’s U18 team that will participate in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile.
During the first training camp, the players had their measurements taken and the results were noteworthy:
The @usabasketball U-18 measurements (height, weight, wingspan, standing reach) pic.twitter.com/H7uCktxFVK— Andrew Slater (@ASlater247) June 18, 2016
Both players are over 6’10 in shoes and have wingspans of over 7’5, which will help the two big men impact passing lanes, block and alter shots, and secure difficult rebounds.
With Banks at 242 pounds and Allen at 224, the two can complement each other in the post -- Banks has the mass to handle bigger opponents on the block, while Allen can serve as the helpside defender to clean up any mistakes that Banks might make or simply help with a double team. Both should be able to step out on pick and rolls, but Allen has the footspeed to keep up with smaller faster players to allow Banks to work as the help defender.
In 2014-15, Texas had Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh, and Myles Turner along the frontline. However, the Allen-Banks combination has better length, better overall offensive ability, and arguably better overall athleticism — these two players will be able to provide the ‘Horns with a unique skill set that should make Texas a formidable defensive team next season.