Little by little, the legend grows, exponentially, mostly by word of mouth.
And yet none of the words are from Terry Allen’s lips. No way.
“I mean, he is a quiet dude, (keeps) to himself,” Richmond forward T.J. Cline said of his senior teammate. “He really only opens up with the people he’s really close with. I think he’s quiet in his approach … he kind of lets his play speak for him.”
And lately, it’s spoken enough volumes to fill the Library of Congress. The 6-foot-8 Texan leads the Spiders — who host Old Dominion Wednesday on ASN at 7 p.m. ET — in points (20.6) and rebounds (8.0) per contest, while sitting third in assists per game (3.0).
The taller the mountain, the grander the climb. Richmond’s ace forward dropped 34 points and 13 boards on No. 14 Cal in a 94-90 victory on Nov. 27, and 21 points, seven rebounds and five steals on Northern Iowa in a win over the scrappy Panthers on Dec. 5.
“I feel I’m playing pretty well,” Allen told reporters last month. “I think it’s from me just getting older and just understanding what I can do and how I can attack and make the game easier for me.”
Already blessed with a diverse all-around game — post up, spot up (46 career 3-pointers), quick hands (105 career steals), serious hoops IQ — the first nine games on Allen’s senior C.V. have featured an uptick in one of the best weapons in a scorers’ arsenal: The charity stripe.
Allen’s has gone to the free-throw line an average of 7.9 times per game, and his 71 attempts from the stripe are already more than double the tries he’d amassed over 35 games a year ago (131). His 17 free-throws made against the Golden Bears were the most by a Spider in a single game since 1969.
“I just think our offense and defense, it took some time for me to understand it,” Allen told reporters. “And now that I understand it, it’s just way easier for me to operate (within it).”
“When I first got here (as a transfer), they told me he could be one of the best rebounders ever in this program,” Cline said of Allen, an 80% foul shooter this season. “He has that potential. You see him from year to year, how he’s progressed and (gotten) to the level now where the NBA isn’t out of reach, by any stretch of the imagination.”
Why the heck not? After all, it runs in the blood. Allen’s uncle is former Memphis Tigers standout Chris Massie, who averaged 12.5 points per game as a pro overseas over 82 contests from 2007-2013. His mother, Stefanie Tyson, was a standout basketball player at San Diego State.
“And he gets his motivation from her,” Cline said.
That and the jumper.
And the comfort off the dribble.
And the hands.
And the swagger.
Quiet swagger, granted.
“I think he expected it,” senior swingman Trey Davis said. “He definitely put in the work over the summer.
“I think it’s really just his approach and confidence. I think he could do those things last year … it’s been on a consistent basis (this season). Just even at practice, just his everyday approach at practice, just going out there and then showing it on the floor.”
Over his last 19 contests dating back to February, the Texas native has reached double figures in scoring during all of them and recorded a double-double in nine — almost half. That’s the kind of steady beat anybody can dance to. All the way to March.