Allen, Obanor leaders on young Texas Tech squad with high expectations
Texas Tech men's basketball is one week away from beginning the 2022-2023 campaign. As usual, expectations are high for the Red Raiders. Here's what Kevin Obanor and KJ Allen said on Monday as they prep for a new opportunity at a run in March.
Allen is in his second season with the Red Raiders after arriving from East Los Angeles College, which was featured on the basketball edition of Netflix's Last Chance U.
Allen said he still speaks to ELAC coach John Mosley every day. Their conversations range from basketball to personal life. Allen said it's a blessing to be in Lubbock and where he is at in his basketball career.
Allen said everyone on this year's Texas Tech roster is excited to play. The roster is made up of a lot of new faces. Allen said he is using his experience from last season to help the newcomers get adjusted.
As a veteran on this team, Allen said he plans to help the team win any way that he can. He does expect to be more of a bruiser, though, for this squad. He wants to play like Draymond Green by helping get rebounds and playing with energy.
Steve Green now runs the Texas Tech offense. Allen said he loves the new look because there's plenty of ways to score the ball. He expects them to be strong on defense but now with a fast-paced offense while looking to move the ball around the court with Green.
Injuries haven't derailed the plan for this team, Allen said. He mentioned some guys playing in different positions but everyone can play wherever they need to.
Robert Jennings, one of five freshmen, has been working out with Allen. He said he and Jennings are pretty close. Meanwhile, other freshman Pop Isaacs, Allen said, is a talented, gifted guard and leader that can shoot from the perimeter.
More praise from Allen, he compared big man Daniel Batcho to a couple of NBA mega superstars.
"To compare him to anybody I would say like a bit like Joel Embiid, Lebron James chasing down blocks. I mean he's an incredible player."
For himself, expect Allen to be an improved defender and shooter as his goals are set to play a bigger role on this season's team.
Obanor opened his session by saying he's been embracing it day-by-day because he knows how fast it can be over, which is something he's been telling the younger guys on the team. He's trying to finish his final year with a bang.
Obanor said Allen has been looking good in practice. He said Allen could be the bruiser type of guy for them on the floor as opportunities happen.
For himself, Obanor said he's been taking more care of his body. He's focused on improving on himself on the court and off.
Obanor said everything he was doing last year was solid and NBA scouts were intrigued. However, last year he didn't have much exposure with the guys in front of him. This year, he'll be doing the same thing but with more exposure on the court.
Coach Mark Adams has been helping everybody, according to Obanor. He said Adams tries to get the fine details down even when they run a play or anything good.
Obanor mentioned the hall of fame level that Adams and Green bring to the table can get them to where they want to be. He didn't want to give up to many details on offense but said they have a lot up their sleeve.
Batcho to Obanor has to embrace the opportunity of playing time due to Fardaws Aimaq missing the beginning of the year.
Obanor mentioned Jennings just as Allen did. He said the freshman reminds him of a younger version of himself. He tries to pour out to all of the younger guys to continue the Texas Tech legacy.
Obanor said this team is in the right direction to do what they want to do against the Big 12 and in March. He said teams that are dominating early are usually older, more experienced rosters that have been playing together for awhile. For the Red Raiders, they have to grow every game and gel to hit their final form.
"I really want to leave Tech better than I found it. We've been Final Four, national championship runner-up, but we've never got the whole thing and of course that's a milestone away, but that's the ultimate goal. I believe we can do it. Of course, I like to stay focused on the present and not so focused on the future, but we have the talent, we have the heart, we have the love for each other. It's just continuing to get better day-by-day."