Whenever Carson basketball coach Carlos Mendeguia has needed something this season, he has turned to senior Tez Allen.
Need a defensive stopper? It’s Allen. Need a point guard/ballhandler? It’s Allen. Need a critical basket? Go to Tez.
It’s been a lot to ask, but Allen has been able to get the job done, averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds a game in helping the Senators to an 11-5 record.
Allen has gone from being mainly just a front-court type of player to being a guy who can and has done everything for the Senators, who start the post-season Tuesday at Reno.
Allen’s workload wasn’t supposed to be so strenuous.
Several players — Jace Keema (foot injury), Mike Mendoza (job commitments), Greg Wallace (injury from football) and Incline transfer Jon Cromer (moved to Salt Lake City) — were unable to play this year.
Keema was expected to be the starting point guard and Kromer was going to replace Asa Carter at shooting guard and be the defensive stopper. Wallace and Mendoza were expected to see plenty of action. Carson indeed looked like a team that could have defended its Sierra League championship.
“That is two, maybe three starters we lost,” Carson coach Carlos Mendeguia said. “We had a shot at first place (again). Once everything started to happen, we pulled Tez into the office and told him we need you to do A, B, C, D, E and F.
“He has improved by leaps and bounds. He’s gotten stronger and filled out. He doesn’t get pushed off his line when he goes to the basket. He has handled the ball well.”
Even before the manpower issues started to crop up, Allen had already started a pretty strenuous workout regimen.
“Jayden (DeJoseph) and I were working out twice a day,” Allen said. “We were in the gym everyday five days a week. I still work out twice a week during the season.”
Allen’s workouts were aimed at improving both his strength and agility, and it’s easy to see that it has paid off. Rarely does he play less than 30 minutes unless he’s in foul trouble.
The agility might even be more important than the strength because instead of guarding the best opposing big man like he did as a junior, he was asked to guard the best offensive player, and that meant guarding smaller, quicker players.
Allen has done a tremendous job at the defensive end, inheriting the role filled so capably by Asa Carter a year ago. Again, it wasn’t something he expected to have to do.
“Cromer was originally going to be in that (stopper) role,” Mendeguia. “Tez has done a good job.”
Allen said the toughest player he’s had to defend is Damonte point guard Drew Damboise. The biggest problem defending Damboise is denying him the ball once you force him, to give it up. It can get tiring chasing him around the floor.
“I would rather not guard Drew than anybody else we face,” Allen said. “He can shoot it from anywhere, and he’s a left-hander which I’m not used to going against. He is always looking to pass, but if you give him too much space he will just pull up and shoot it. He is quick. I can still use my length to contest the shot.”
In recent weeks, Geraet Rauh has started to come on defensively, and he’s been able to spell Allen at times in the game.
Allen started the year with a couple of 30-point games at the Riordan Crusader Classic, and he has been pretty much reaching double figures nearly every game.
“We had a couple of guys out earlier this year, and Tez put the team on his back, and once those guys came back he continued in that role,” Mendeguia said.
Allen has the capability to score 8-to-10 points in a row; carry a team offensively. He also has great floor vision which has led to a plethora of great assists this year. There have been times when shots aren’t dropping, and Allen will become a facilitator,
The only knock on his game is he hasn’t developed a good 3-point shot. His mid-range shot has been solid, however.
“I shoot well in practice,” Allen said. “I think I can shoot better (3s) than I’ve been doing.”
The Senators seem to defer a lot to Allen and DeJoseph, and that can be a problem. If a team can shut down one or both of the CHS stars, somebody else needs to step up, and that hasn’t happened.
“I tell them to take shots,” Allen said of his teammates. “If they make some shots, it opens up things on the floor.
“Geraet can shoot the ball and Sevon (Mandoki) has made some 3s.”
Playing at the next level has been Allen’s goal since high school, and that appears to be coming to fruition.
Allen has been offered a preferred walk-on status at Nevada, and he’s also been offered a scholarship at William Jessup, a small Christian college in Rocklin, Calif. that plays at the NAIA level.
Allen said he hasn’t been given a final date to sign, but he’s staying in contact with the William Jessup coaches.
“I went to a game a couple of weeks ago,” Allen said. “They played Masters (Los Angeles). Jessup is good. They are in first place. The coaching staff is pretty cool, and it’s a good academic school
“ If I go there, I’d have to pay next to nothing. They have played a couple of D-1 schools. I think they played UC Davis this year.”
And, there’s a chance he may continue to play with DeJoseph, who also has been offered by William Jessup.
“I think it would be a good fit for both of them,” Mendeguia said. “It’s a school where they would have a realistic chance to play, and get a good education.”
How Allen would be used is anybody’s guess.
“They like my vision; the way I see the floor,” Allen said. “I would think a 3 (small forward) or maybe even a 2 (shooting guard).”
If it’s the latter, Allen knows he will have to improve his range in the off-season, something he said he plans on doing.