AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of Chris Beard’s top priorities before he coaches a game for Texas is to help make fans as passionate for the Longhorns on the hardwood as they are on for the ones on the football field.
He plans on doing that by making sure fans know his team, which can be hard to do given that there are just four returners from last year’s team. The rest of the roster is made up of new faces in freshmen and transfers, of which there are seven of the latter.
“I think as our fans get to know these guys, personally, that’s where the emotion comes in,” Beard said. “When fans get emotionally attached to a team, it’s one of the big steps, in my opinion, of how to build a fan base.”
The first new face Beard introduced to the fan base on Wednesday is Timmy Allen, a 6-foot, 6-inch forward. He spent the first three seasons of his collegiate career at Utah, where just last season he earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team.
“Timmy’s a ballplayer, that’s why I think he’ll be a pro,” Beard said. “He’s not defined by position or one skillset. He’s an elite competitor. He’s one of those guys that has it. He’s tough.”
Despite Allen’s success last season with the Utes, the team still struggled through a 12-13 season, which ultimately led to the firing of head coach Larry Krystkowiak. That coaching change led to Allen wanting to move on from Salt Lake City.
“I just wanted to compete at the highest level,” Allen said. “We struggled, and I’m a winner and I’m looking to win championships. I’m looking to be surrounded by the best players in the country every day, and that’s something new for me here.”
There’s no doubt that the Longhorns have that talent. After Beard finished building his roster with seven faces from the transfer portal, national pundits have the Longhorns pegged as a surefire top-10 team, if not the preseason No. 1 team in the country.
“Everyone wants to be so great here that the energy in practice and the intensity is just next level,” Allen said. “That’s gonna do nothing but elevate us for games. That’s what I want every day, I want that tough practice every day, I want to be coached hard every day, I want to be coached hard every day and I want to be surrounded by great people and players every day, so being here is just a great fit for me.”
For Allen, though, the journey to Austin has been one filled with peaks and valleys dating back to when he was in high school.
As a four-star recruit out of Mesa, Ariz., Allen had offers from all over the country, including from Beard back when he was at Texas Tech. But after the death of his mother from cancer when he was a junior, he took a bit of a break from basketball.
“I just slipped a little bit in my game and my approach to it,” Allen said. “Utah was one of the schools that stuck around during that whole period. I could do nothing be faithful to them for that. With the coaching change, it was just in my best option to go somewhere else.”
The fact that that somewhere else is Texas, he knows his mom would be proud of that.
“If she was sitting here today, she wouldn’t believe I’m at the University of Texas,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t believe it either, but I know she’s happier than I am that I’m here. She has everything to do with why I’m here and what I’m doing and how I do it. She’s the heart of my heart. I am her. She lives through me.”