LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — The start of the college basketball season is a week away for New Mexico State, and expectations are on the rise for the Aggies, who are picked to win the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2021-22.
This year’s team consists of holdovers like Donnie Tillman, Clayton Henry, Jabari Rice, Will McNair Jr. and Johnny McCants, but several newcomers are expected to make an immediate impact for head coach Chris Jans, including Nebraska transfer Teddy Allen.
Allen, whose nickname is “Teddy Buckets,” can pull up and hit a jump shot from anywhere on the floor. The Phoenix, Arizona, native began his collegiate career at West Virginia coming off the bench for head coach Bob Huggins. Allen averaged 7.0 points per game, playing a significant role as the sixth man in the Mountaineers trip to the Sweet 16 in 2017-18.
After spending his redshirt year (2018-19) at Wichita State, Allen played one season at Western Nebraska Community College (2019-20). He then transferred to Nebraska where he led the Cornhuskers in scoring in 2020-21, averaging 16.5 points per game.
“Teddy has a lot of fan fare for obvious reasons: he’s well-traveled and he’s an accomplished scorer,” said Jans. “That usually moves the needle in college basketball, and people are talking about him. He’s been great for us. He got here in the first week of June and has dove into our culture and our expectations. He works at his game and he’s trying to become more of a two-way player. But when the lights come on, his experience matters. For us, he has to learn where his spots are and how he fits in to what we do, but we’re certainly excited to have him.”
Named the 2017 Nebraska Gatorade High School Player of the Year, Allen averaged 31.6 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a high school senior. NMSU’s coaching staff and winning culture is what brought him onboard to the Aggies’ roster.
“I just want to do whatever Jans asks of me, and whatever the team needs me to do to help us when,” said Allen. “Obviously that’s the cliché answer, but that’s the truth. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help us win.”
NMSU has done plenty of winning since Jans took over the program in 2017-18. However, the Aggies’ dominance in the WAC has yet to translate into NCAA Tournament success, something Allen believes he can help with having had his own success as a freshman in the big dance.
“If one of us is doing good, we are all doing good. If someone else does good, we all do good. We’re a team,” said Allen. “If we’re winning tournament games and I’m winning WAC Player of the Year, it means we probably had a good year.”
The Aggies will open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at home against UC Irvine.