Oklahoma State’s pursuit of transfers paid off with a major return Thursday, with 7-foot-1 junior college center Anthony Allen signing with the Cowboys.
And OSU may not be done yet.
Travis Ford and his staff are actively recruiting two fifth-year transfers – guard Matt Carlino of BYU and guard Byron Wesley of Southern Cal. On the high school front, the Cowboys remain in the mix for elite center Myles Turner of Euless, Texas, who is due to announce his college destination Wednesday. Along with OSU, Turner is considering Texas, Kansas and SMU.
A standout at Lamar State College in Port Arthur, Texas, Allen led all junior college players with 191 blocked shots this past season. He averaged 11 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.2 blocks a game, finishing his career with 17 double-doubles, of which six were triple-doubles that involved 10 or more blocks.
"We are excited about Anthony joining our basketball family," Ford said. "He is one of the premier shot blockers in the country, and he'll bring us great depth inside. (He's) someone who can change the game defensively.
“At his size, he can really run the floor and play our style of basketball. His best days are ahead of him, and he will continue to improve once he gets here. We look forward to him adding depth inside, as well as bringing great shot blocking and rebounding to our basketball team."
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Allen led Bassick High School in Bridgeport, Conn., to two state championships and originally signed with the University of Ohio out of high school. He landed at the College of Southern Idaho instead, where he redshirted as a freshman, then left for Lamar State. This season he led the Seahawks to the best record in school history at 25-7. They lost to top-seeded Paris Junior College in the semifinals of the Region XIV Tournament.
Allen had 10 games in his juco career with 10 or more blocked shots, including a career-high 14 at Blinn College in 2014.
"Anthony is definitely a game changer at the defensive end," said Lance Madison, head coach at Lamar State. "He led the country in blocked shots two years in a row. He's a good athlete, and runs the court extremely well. He's gained a lot of confidence in his offense, and there is a lot of upside to it.
“He's the most improved player in junior college the last two years."
At 7-1 and 250 pounds, Allen will be OSU’s biggest player next season. His arrival shores up a major weakness, impacted when Michael Cobbins was lost to a torn achilles. The post position may actually become a strength, with Allen, a healthy Cobbins, returning forward Kamari Murphy and incoming 6-9 freshman Mitch Solomon from Bixby.
The Cowboys’ roster remains in flux. Le’Bryan Nash is expected to return for his senior season, yet is contemplating a jump to pro ball. Carlino and Wesley each have OSU high on their lists of possible landing spots. Turner, a program-changing player, remains on the radar.
In addition, Cowboys signee Jared Terrell – a four-star guard from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is rumored to be asking out of his letter-of-intent, due to personal issues arising at home.