Three weeks before Wichita State’s exhibition game and Teddy Allen’s eligibility for this season is still undecided.
Allen transferred to WSU this spring from West Virginia and the Shockers are requesting a hardship waiver from the NCAA to allow him to play immediately. Allen lost his mother to cancer during his senior year of high school, and WSU’s waiver request is centered around Wichita’s proximity to Allen’s home near Omaha compared to Morgantown, W.Va.
The NCAA’s decision could be a momentous one for a young WSU team that coach Gregg Marshall said after last weekend’s scrimmage could certainly use Allen’s scoring prowess.
“He’s wired to score,” Marshall said. “Every time he cuts hard to the basket and comes off a screen and puts his head down, he really wants to put the ball in the basket. This team could use that.”
Allen averaged nearly 32 points his senior year at Boys Town and won the Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year award in 2017, then followed it up by leading West Virginia in per-40-minute scoring at 23.1 points his freshman season.
It’s clear Allen is a playmaker on offense, but in what ways? Here are four video examples of how Allen could help the Shockers.
1. Crashing the glass
Allen’s advantage comes when defenses assign a guard on him who isn’t used to battling to box someone out. At 6-foot-5, Allen doesn’t have the height to out-jump others for a rebound, but his commitment to attack the glass is reminiscent of Rashard Kelly.
In the above video, Allen was standing in the opposite corner when the shot was released. The video pauses as Allen comes streaking into the frame past his defender.
Kelly didn’t find every rebound, but he came close because he gave himself a chance by going after every attempt. Allen isn’t at that kind of expert level yet, but he operates the same way. In this video, Allen’s pursuit pays off when the rebound caroms his way and he’s able to go straight back up for two points.
In limited minutes, Allen grabbed 11 percent of the available offensive rebounds, a mark that would have led WVU and ranked top-150 nationally with a few more minutes played. According to Hoop-Math, Allen converted 15 putbacks last season.
It’s a small sample size, but it’s likely safe to assume Allen would give WSU a rebounding advantage if he played shooting guard or small forward. In a program that prizes rebounds only behind defense, that’s exactly what WSU could use.
2. Attacking in transition
This is the natural follow-up to Allen’s rebounding ability. He’s a plus defensive rebounder, and when he pulls them down, he’s not afraid to go coast-to-coast like in the above video from Saturday’s scrimmage and attack back-pedaling defenses in transition.
Allen pulls down the defensive rebound and immediately starts the fast break. When the video pauses, Allen has no support and three defenders surrounding him.
It’s time to pull the ball out and set the offense, right? Not if you’re Allen, whose brain is constantly set on attack mode. Even with numbers, it’s difficult for defenses to defend when they’re not set and they’re running backward.
Allen takes advantage here, switching the ball to his left hand to avoid a swipe from Samajae Haynes-Jones, then cradles the ball in his right hand and finger rolls it into the basket around the out-stretched hands of 6-foot-11 Jaime Echenique.
This type of attack mindset could be a welcomed change for a WSU team that was largely hesitant to run in transition and finished No. 292 in the country in total transition offense last season, according to Synergy.
3. Generating efficient two-point shots
Allen’s jump shot is a work in progress, but he was effective at West Virginia because he knew his strength was around the basket and he rarely settled for the outside shot.
According to Synergy, Allen generated 71 percent of his shot attempts within five feet of the basket, and he made 56 percent of those shots. He’ll need to develop a three-point shot to reach the efficiency WSU has come to expect from its guards, but Allen’s freshman season already came close.
In the video above, Allen showcases a few of the tricks in his bag to create clean two-point looks for himself against a first-team All-Big 12 player in Kansas State’s Dean Wade.
Before receiving the pass, Allen takes two jabs at Wade to create separation for the catch on the wing. Allen takes one dribble to his right to sway Wade, then drives to his left. The trick here is the way Allen uses his 220-pound frame to bump into Wade right before he elevates for his shot, effectively knocking Wade off-balance and robbing him of the chance to contest.
Allen isn’t afraid to attack a defender who is taller than him, and he showed in this video how he can use his frame to create separation for shots.
4. Playing bully ball in the post
Usually, when you think of a post-up, it’s a 6-8 (or up) post that’s going to work in the low block.
But it’s likely that WSU will try to exploit Allen there if opponents decide to match him up with a smaller player. In the video above, Allen recognizes he has a weight advantage on his defender and heads straight for the right block.
Allen beats the defender to the block and establishes position. When the entry pass comes, Allen uses his off-hand to seal his defender, who chases the pass and finds himself out of position. From there, it’s one power dribble and a floater that Jaime Echenique swats away but is ruled to be goaltending.
West Virginia occasionally used Allen in post-up situations and he generally had success (21 points on 16 shots). I wouldn’t be surprised if Marshall comes up with creative ways to feed the ball to Allen in the post when teams decide to go small on him.