Jarrett Allen has decided that after testing the NBA draft waters, he’s ready to dive in.
The Texas freshman will hire an agent and remain in the draft, the school announced Tuesday.
“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to begin the process of hiring an agent and turning professional,” Allen said in a statement released by Texas. “Throughout this basketball season, I felt I have grown as a basketball player and as a person while learning how to approach and prepare for the game.
“These experiences and my continual improvement throughout this year have provided me the opportunity of a lifetime to live my dream of playing basketball at the highest level. I have had deep discussions with my family as well as coach (Shaka) Smart in making sure this is a sound decision.”
The 6-foot-11 Allen projects as a potential lottery pick after averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his lone season in Austin. He shot 56.6 percent from the field. He attempted just seven 3-pointers on the year.
Allen came to Texas with many believing he’d ultimately go the one-and-done route, but he struggled some early before truly finding his footing late, leaving some to believe it was a real possibility he’d return to help Smart rebound from an 11-22 Year 2 with the Longhorns with four-star recruit Matt Coleman set to join the team and fill its desperate need at the point guard position.
Instead, Allen will go pro and Smart will have to await the decision of his other McDonald’s All-American freshman, Andrew Jones, who also has declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. If Jones ultimately decides to forego his eligibility and stay in the draft, Smart will be faced with a roster short on proven high-level talent.
The other scenario, though, is that Jones returns and Allen’s departure clears the way for five-star center Mo Bamba to join the Longhorns. The top-five 2017 recruit is reportedly considering Texas, Duke, Michigan and Kentucky as his collegiate destination.