The University of Utah men’s basketball team still has one major piece of offseason business in the wind. He is home in Arizona, mostly in a holding pattern at the moment.
Utes junior forward Timmy Allen declared for the NBA draft to zero fanfare. No tweet, no social media announcement, his name simply appearing on the list of early-entry candidates the NBA released on April 28.
Some clarity on the situation was expected this week with the NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their names from consideration slated for June 3. With the NBA calendar in flux thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA delayed the withdrawal date. On Thursday, the college sports governing body announced a new withdrawal date of Aug. 3 or 10 days after a yet-to-be-announced NBA Draft Combine, whichever comes first.
“With the deadline moved back, not just us, but I think a lot of kids are at a standstill in terms of how to proceed,” Ray Arvizu, Allen’s Godfather and former AAU coach with Southern California-based Compton Magic, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “His intention was to get some good, honest feedback from NBA teams about what he needs to work on, not just for the next level, but immediately for next season. That’s where his mindset has been.
“We anticipate being back at Utah regardless.”
Arvizu indicating Allen will back at Utah for his junior season is all well and good, but the 2020 All-Pac-12 second-team selection has the right to see this unprecedented, unorthodox pre-draft process through to the end, even if that does leave the Utes with roster volatility for two more months.
To that end, multiple sources have told The Tribune in recent weeks that Allen has been present and engaged with all team activities via Zoom, something Arvizu confirmed on Thursday.
“When he signed with Utah, there was never any intention of leaving early, he intended to stay there four years,” Arvizu said. “I really think he has a pretty good handle on things, he likes the community there.”
With COVID-19 leading to a ban on in-person facility visits and group workouts during the pre-draft process, Zoom calls have been the primary replacement for decision-makers looking to meet with a prospect. Per Arvizu, Allen has yet to have a Zoom call with an NBA team, but that could still change as the withdrawal date gets closer.
The big question now for prospects, including BYU’s Yoeli Childs, Utah State’s Sam Merrill and Utah’s Both Gach, is whether or not the ban on facility visits and group workouts will be lifted before the Aug. 3 withdrawal date. The presumed answer is no, but as states begin to open up and return to some form of normalcy this spring, that could still change.
“I think that’s the play right now, to see what that situation looks like,” Arvizu said. “He would really like the opportunity to see what type of work he has to do to eventually get to the next level. None of this is going to interfere with next season, though. He’s excited about the young talent, so once he gets back to Utah, he wants to win the Pac-12, he wants to play in the NCAA Tournament, he wants to keep being a leader.
“He’s pretty excited about the future.”