Everyone saw what sitting out a year due to transfer did for TJ McConnell. The practice experience and chemistry that a player develops in that time pays huge dividends down the road, both physically and mentally.
And that’s exactly the kind of benefit Kadeem Allen will enjoy when he takes the court next year as a redshirt junior.
Allen transferred from the Junior College ranks, but decided to exercise a redshirt year to allow him more time to develop and mature in Sean Miller’s program. Ultimately, that’s a decision that could pay off for Allen in a big way.
After a year of practicing with the team and watching games from the coaches’ perspective, Allen is poised to hit the ground running. But what will Allen bring to the table for Arizona?
In a word, toughness. Allen is a player that doesn’t back down, and attacks relentlessly. With a much younger and inexperienced roster next season, the Wildcats will need players with Allen’s attitude to carry them through the rough patches.
At 6-3 and nearly 200 lbs, Allen has a good physique for a college shooting guard. That’ll come in handy when he’s slashing his way to the rim and earning free throws by playing through contact.
Allen’s ability to put the ball in the hoop is one of the main strengths that made him a National Player of the Year at the JuCo level, where he put up 25.9 points per game as a sophomore and set school records at Hutchinson CC for free throw makes and attempts. Allen is at his best when he is attacking defenses.
But another element that Allen will bring, just like McConnell did, is immediate leadership. While fans may have not paid much attention to him last season, he has a year’s worth of practice under his belt and understands what Miller wants out of his players.
With that experience, Allen should be able to lead by example and set the bar for Arizona’s many new players arriving next year. On a team with so many new components, Allen could help bring continuity and stability while those players are integrated into the program.
It’s too early to tell what the starting lineup might look like next year, but it’ll be hard to keep Allen out of it. One factor working in his favor is that he can play both point and shooting guard positions, giving him more opportunities for minutes. Allen could even be featured in a three guard lineup, which presents a chance for a significant role.
Miller has shown what he can do with talented transfers, his track record speaks for itself. And we’ve also seen what players can do given that opportunity. If recent trends hold true, Allen should be in for a big year.