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Film Room: The Addition of Terrell Allen

SB Nation logo SB Nation 9/12/2019 alleninxis
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With the Georgetown Hoyas hopeful to take another step forward in year three of Patrick Ewing, a well-traveled transfer could make a big difference. No not that one, they’ll be plenty to talk about with Omer Yurtseven. New Hoya guard, Terrell Allen, comes back home to the DC after stops at Drexel and UCF during his collegiate career. The 6’3 guard is set to bring a bit of maturity that the Hoyas back-court is in search of. The best quality Allen possesses is his ability to simply fit into a team. He’ll never try to do more than he is capable of and won’t make anything about him. Allen will get others involved, defend his position and have a heightened sense of when and where to be on the basketball floor. A positive sign that the Hoyas will be getting the best of Allen is in how much he improved from his sophomore season at UCF to his junior year in 2018-2019. He didn’t play any more minutes, didn’t take any more shots. He just did everything better:

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I’d have to imagine high-major players coming off their best season of their careers are not the likely candidates to move into the transfer portal. Generally it feels high-major transfers are disgruntled over playing time, effectiveness or a coaching change. Seemingly, none of that surrounds Allen. He played very well on a team that was Top 25 caliber all year long. Johnny Dawkins remains as head coach and Allen would have been in line for even more responsibility this coming season. Instead, he transfers home to a program whose back-court is already solidified by James Akinjo and Mac McClung.

One thing I may have been guilty in contributing is measuring Allen’s defensive prowess. You’re not just going to throw him on the other teams best defender and throw away the key. He is good, but it’s in the construct of a team. UCF played zone far more often than Ewing will and their man defense was also geared to funnel everything into Tacko Fall:

Having a fairly mobile 7’6 guy behind you tends to make life easier. Allen used it to his benefit and in so, his defensive numbers graded out quite well. Overall, Allen graded out to the 92nd percentile via Synergy Sports:

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Allen knows where and when to help and has shown an high IQ on the defensive side of the floor. Credit to him for leveraging his teammates ability. Make no mistake, Allen is a plus defender. In the following set of clips you can see how Allen knows when to switch, how to shade certain ball-handlers and understand how to play angles:

Given the alertness on that end of the floor in recent years for the Hoyas, Allen is a welcome addition. He’ll do his job.

Offensively, I’m perhaps more excited than most in what Allen can do for the Hoyas. He organizes, he moves and he just fits in. He won’t take shots he can’t make and he’ll turn down shots for teammates with a better look. If anything about Allen rubs off on his fellow back-court mates, hopefully it is the way he’s willing to share offensively. There is a patience and calmness that can be felt when Allen is a ball-handler, particularly in pick and roll. It should be a natural fit with Yurtseven to navigate ball-screens together and Yurtseven can be utilized as a roller to a better degree than Jessie Govan ever could. There were only nine big man total in Division 1 in 2018 who logged over 100 possessions in which they were featured in ending a possession as a pick and roll roll man. Out of those nine, Yurtseven registered the third highest points per possession at 1.184 per Synergy. The big man as a roll man surrounded by play-makers is a recipe for success and Allen brings an added element of patience and vision to max him an excellent match in initiating such offense. While Yursteven isn’t 7’6, he offers a large target and Allen showed a knack for throwing on the money lobs.

Where McClung and Akinjo could be lulled into trouble last season was the defense willing to allow the tandem to take two points jump-shots. Allen is allergic to doing so. Not to get into a philosophical debate on how the game should be played, but there is enough evidence that has shown it’s best to squeeze out mid-range attempts. Akinjo and McClung combined to shoot 32-83 from 17ft-to the three point line which resulted in .77 points per attempt.

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Not exactly the most efficient ways to go about things. That said, it is an option for the guards when given room to take it and the sophomores should improve on their decision making and ability to knock those down when it’s a viable option. For now, Allen at least won’t add a third guard who will occupy that area.

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Allen took seven shots from that 17feet-3pt line range all season.

Allen’s presence can also be a benefit to allow Akinjo and McClung to play off the ball. Akinjo already displayed stellar shooting from distance as he shot 39% last season. McClung while not a good stationary shooter (at this point) still offers the ability to aggressively attack closeouts. Allen functioned well in ball-screens last season as he ranked in the 61st percentile via Synergy on 89 possessions that resulted in him being the pick and roll ball-handler. For comparison, Akinjo finished with 191 of those opportunities and had a .77PPP mark compared to Allen’s .79PPP. Akinjo will be the lead guard and take most of these possessions but it is nice to finally have a true secondary handler and a capable backup point guard. As Akinjo progresses you’ll hopefully see him display the same sort of vision and patience that Allen had last season. He doesn’t panic, he keeps his dribble alive and finds teammates.

Allen certainly isn’t taking the ball out of their hands for an extended period. But make no mistake, Allen was the point guard on a team that was a play away from being the Zion-killers and moving onto the second weekend last March. He offers flexibility and a unselfishness to make the offense go. As you can see here, Allen played a critical part in UCF’s success last season and his impact was felt on and off the floor:

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Everything just functioned better with him. Where Allen can be found with flaws is the reality that he is just a glue guy and a key in the cog. There’s nothing wrong in that, it’s needed. He’s not the biggest of stature and not the most explosive. He can have trouble finishing around the rim and won’t be able to create offense entirely on his own. That’s fine, Allen has shown he’ll assimilate to a role and let others do the heavy lifting. I am leery of the idea of a three guard look with Akinjo, Allen and McClung. It’s awfully small and the lack of size might be a bit too much to overcome defensively. A lot of that will depend on how far Jamorko Pickett, Galen Alexander and even Myron Gardner progress heading into the season. In an ideal world, I think you see Allen take minutes out of Akinjo and McClung’s rest breaks and also a small sample of the small three guard look. But no matter how you split it, Coach Ewing added a player in Allen that likely will command upwards of 20-25 minutes in meaningful games. He’s too smart, too experienced and too steady to not warrant that.

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