Freshman forward Jarrett Allen has officially given up his eligibility and will not return to Texas next season.
The school announced in a press release Tuesday night that Allen will hire an agent. It was announced on March 21 that Allen had decided to declare for the NBA Draft but not hire an agent, stating he intended on “testing the waters with this decision.”
With Tuesday’s announcement, Allen’s plans for the NBA are now full speed ahead.
“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. “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.”
Allen said he spoke with both head coach Shaka Smart as well as his family before deciding that turning professional was the best decision for him and his future.
“I would like to thank Coach Smart for preparing me for this opportunity, not only in basketball, but also in helping me understand the level of commitment it takes to be successful. To the University of Texas, it has been an honor to be a student-athlete at this outstanding university.”
He thanked his coaches at Texas was well as his coaches and peers from St. Stephen’s for helping him along the way. It’s Longhorn nation, however, who might miss him the most.
“And to the fans who believed in me and supported me in both the good and bad times throughout this season, thank you,” Allen said. “I appreciate each of you.”
The loss of Allen is a huge blow to Smart’s squad for next season. Allen averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during his lone season with the Longhorns. He was also named to the All-Big 12 third team and all-newcomer team.
“When Jarrett chose to come to the University of Texas, he expressed a sincere interest in learning and having the absolute best freshman season he could have,” Smart said in a statement. “I’m really pleased with the tremendous growth Jarrett has shown. He has been a joy to coach, and I’m excited to watch him continue to develop into the best version of himself at the next level.”
Freshman guard Andrew Jones announced on March 29 that he would also declare for the NBA Draft but not hire an agent, thus still remaining eligible to return next season. Jones still has not hired an agent or provided any update on his plans.
With Allen gone, landing five-star power forward Mohamed Bamba becomes all the more important for Smart. The 6-foot-11, 207-pound Bamba would be a huge addition for a program coming off a frustrating 11-win season and dead-last finish in the Big 12. Bamba hails from the Westtown School in New York City and is the No. 3 player in the nation, according to 247Sports’ rankings. He was also coached by Smart last summer on the Team USA Under-18 team.
247Sports currently has Texas listed with the No. 6-rated recruiting class.