Timmy Allen Enters Name into Portal to Cap off Wild Week for Utah Men’s Basketball

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U of U junior forward, Timmy Allen (#1), during the game vs. the USC Trojans on Feb. 27th, 2021 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on campus. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Assistant Sports Editor

 

After a difficult week for the University of Utah men’s basketball program, things went from bad to worse Friday night as star Timmy Allen entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal. 

To begin the week, as Athletics Director Mark Harlan continued his search for a new head coach, top prospect Alex Jensen (Utah Jazz Assistant Coach and Utah alumnus), formally withdrew his name from consideration for the position. Many fans and followers of the program were disappointed to hear of his withdrawal, as he’s done so well with the Jazz organization and many were familiar with him.

On Tuesday evening, the program then received news that junior forward Riley Battin would be entering his name into the transfer portal. Battin started nine of the 25 games for the Utes this season and averaged 22 minutes a game, a significant role in Utah’s rotation. Statistically, Battin averaged 6.6 points per game, 1.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds. He also shot an impressive 40% from the field and a respectable 34% from beyond the arc. While this wasn’t a major blow to the program, it’s never a good thing to lose players to the portal, especially when they average 20+ minutes a game.

As Utah fans were still processing the fact that Jensen would in fact not be their head coach, notable prospect Johnnie Bryant also formally withdrew his name from consideration for the position on Friday afternoon. Bryant, also a Utah basketball alumnus and former coach for the Utah Jazz, is currently an associate coach for the New York Knicks organization. This was yet another blow to the program, making fans question just how desirable this position may be. However, if Jensen and Bryant have aspirations of coaching at the NBA level, there’s no point in taking a step back and coaching college, no matter what program comes knocking at their door.

Then, to top it all off, on Friday night fan favorite and star-talent junior forward Allen entered his name into the transfer portal, joining teammate Battin as well as teammates Lahat Thioune and Jordan Kellier, who were already in the portal. Allen was easily the best player on the team as he led the Utes in nearly every single statistic. In his junior campaign, Allen averaged 17.2 points per game, 3.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds. He also led the team in field goal attempts while shooting a blistering 47% from the floor. This is a massive blow to the program as Allen not only led the team in most offensive statistics, but he also played the most minutes for the Utes and their offense was centered around his abilities. 

After such a difficult week for the Runnin’ Utes, the program is clearly bleeding and Harlan needs to apply the tourniquet ASAP. Allen leaving the program is a terrible sign and it will be interesting to see what kind of a domino effect it has amongst other players on the team. Will other players also walk away or will they take advantage of the vacant rotation spots and step up to the plate? 

Now, all eyes are on Harlan as he continues to search for a head coach which needs to take place over the next few days. The most notable remaining candidate for the position is Utah State head coach, Craig Smith. Since taking over for the Aggies, he’s done extremely well as he’s led the program to a 74-23 (.763) record with multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament. 

 

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