Jarrett Allen has made quite the impression in such a short time in Brooklyn ... and not just on the court.
His numbers may not be staggering (4.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 47.8% shooting, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks in 15.4 minutes per game), but his impact and potential have won raves from the jump.
And when it comes to being active in the community, Jarrett Allen is ‘bout that life, too. He’s more than just getting accustomed to New York. He’s embracing it.
The 6’11” center is enjoying the progress probably because he’s making some after just 13 games into his NBA career.
“Every game I feel like I’m progressing and I’m starting to get rid of the little mistakes,” said Allen. “It’s pretty high right now. Just knowing that I’m improving and hearing everybody say that I’m on the right track and I’m going to get better, that keeps me going.”
Allen also revealed that Tyler Zeller has become a mentor to him. Zeller, who’s the same height ... minus the Fro, is for now the starting center and essentially competing with him for minutes, but has unselfishly given the rookie the benefit of his experience in the NBA.
“Tyler Zeller, he’s been a big help,” said Allen. “He wants to see me do well and improve. He gives me both on the court tips and off the court tips. Just anything he could help with to see me succeed. He’s telling me what to do on off days to prepare my body. When we’re on the bench he’ll give me all the stuff that I need.”
Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson, who has been an avid supporter of Allen from Day 1, is starting to really like what he sees from his prized rookie, In his most recent outing, vs. Dallas, he had 6 points and 6 rebounds in a big road win.
“I think he’s still trying to grab his rhythm from the time out,” Atkinson said, pointing to a foot injury that kept Allen out for two weeks. “I thought he was improved, like last game I thought it was better than the game before. I just think it’s going to take him a couple games to get him to where he was in the beginning when he had some really good games.
“I’m happy with him,” Atkinson continued. “I’m happy with how he fits our system, I’m happy with his competitiveness, happy that he gives us a 7-foot rim protector and rim-roller. We’re very good defensively when he’s on the court, the analytics back that up, he’s what he thought. I just can’t wait for him to start accumulating more time of the court – he makes very few mental mistakes, very, very few.”
Off the court, Allen has told the Nets he wants to be part of the team’s community efforts. He’s already had some high profile moments, paying for kids haircuts not far from Barclays Center in September, then taking kids from Jackson Heights shopping for Thanksgiving meals last month.
That second story got wide play being picked up by ABC News, ESPN, CBS, Fox and Friends, etc.
He was at it again Friday at the re-dedication of basketball courts in Gowanus with teammates D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Caris LeVert. He loves doing it.
“For me, this is how I was raised,” Allen said. “This is what my mom wanted me to do, and this is what I feel I’m supposed to be doing.”
Even though an emphatic rejection or posterizing dunk must feel amazing, especially at 6’11” and at 19, Allen insists that being involved in the community, especially with kids, is more rewarding.
“There’s nothing better than giving back to the community – I keep on saying it,” Allen said with a smile. “Kids out here, just seeing their faces, you could see how happy they are on the brand new court, and we gave it to them. Doing that, just making somebody else smile, that’s really the goal in my life right now.”
Growing up in Austin, Texas, Allen and his family were heavily involved with the church, where they would participate in a community drive with food for the under-privileged on a weekly basis. It didn’t end there.
“We also had a thing in Boy Scouts where we’d always go out and help build shelters and build stuff for homeless animals, small stuff like that,” Allen added, highlighting more of his charitable moments.
Allen, who has been a Net for just over 5 months, told the organization early on that whatever it is in the community, he’s willing and ready to help.
“For me, I told them in the beginning that I want to be a part of anything in the community, and honestly – I’m happy they brought me here,” he said. “They were happy (to know I want to be involved). I’m pretty sure everybody else told them that they want to be involved in the community but they probably didn’t expect a rookie to say that.”
Now, they know, just as they know about his on-court skills.