Tez Allen has spent countless hours in gyms and weight rooms to improve his game and his body, and Thursday that work paid the hoped-for dividends.
Allen, a three-year varsity player and all-league performer for Carson High’s third-place basketball team this past winter, signed a letter of intent with Southern Oregon University. Allen signed his letter in Morse Burley Gymnasium on Thursday.
The 6-foot 5-inch Allen had an offer from Nevada to be a preferred walk-on, an offer from William Jessup and a couple of junior college offers before deciding on SOU. The bulk of his scholarship is academic based this year, and the athletic side is expected to increase from his sophomore to senior year. He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds this season for the Senators.
“I visited the school a couple of weeks ago, and they have a lot more majors to offer,” Allen said. “It was a better overall college life (than William Jessup).
“It’s exciting. When I went up there, I played ball with the team. They put me in the motion offense and I ran through some shooting drills so they could take a look at my shot.”
Carlos Mendeguia, Carson High head coach, said he was happy for his star player.
“We are all excited here,” he said. “All of his hard work really paid off. He turned himself into a really good player. I’m very happy top see him continue on to the next level.”
Brian McDermott, SOU head coach who was present at the signing, is happy to have Allen in the fold. The coach said Allen was the only scholarship player he recruited because he lost only one player off an 18-13 team.
“The first thing that stood out is that he has a college-ready body,” McDermott said. “We had a bunch of skinny guys running up and down the floor this year. The second thing was his passing ability.
“I saw him play once or twice and I watched a lot of film. We don’t have our own gym (yet), it’s being built right now, so we practiced at a local high school, and 5:30 a.m. was the only time we could get in there, so I didn’t get out to scout as much as I wanted to.”
Allen has always been a good facilitator, and he was unselfish during his three-year varsity career. When good scorers are having off games shooting, they usually try to facilitate more and Allen did exactly that. No doubt his vision and passing skills advanced because he handled the ball so much this year.
“I think playing point guard this year really helped,” Mendeguia said. “Whether he ends up as a 3 or 4, he is a 6-5 guy who can really handle the ball.”
McDermott said he was looking for a specific player for the coming season. One of his frontcourt players tore his ACL and is expected to redshirt this season.
“Our need changed (after that injury),” McDermott said. “We were looking for somebody to fill that void in terms of playing the 4 next year and then playing a 3 the following year, and we feel that Tez can do that.”
Allen showed his defensive versatility the past two years. As a junior, he defended the opposing best big man, and as a senior, he guarded the best offensive player, frontcourt or backcourt. He played well defensively.
With a young team, Allen has a better chance to be an impact player than if he was going to a more experienced team.
Allen believes if he improves his long-distance shooting he could be an off guard. Based on his play this past winter, he has enough ball skills to handle the ball from the point in a motion offense if needed.
McDermott believes Allen could be in the rotation next season, but he has also left Allen the option of a redshirt year.
“We always give freshmen that option,” McDermott said. “We would usually do that right before the season (if a player is healthy) after we’ve had 25 or so practices. A lot of it depends on whether they don’t mind spending a fifth year in college.”