MILWAUKEE — Ryan Allen has seen the draft process unfold before. He’s seen the mistakes a player can make on the road to the NBA. And through the lens of his brother, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, the former Wisconsin-Milwaukee guard is confident in his path to meet his brother on the NBA hardwood.
Allen admitted plainly at the Milwaukee Bucks draft workout on Monday that he’s not expecting his dreams of an NBA career to come true on Thursday, a night that his workout-mate, Northwestern’s John Shurna, said young players wait their whole life for.
No, Allen knows he’ll have to wait a bit longer and work a bit harder for that to come true.
“I’m not thinking too much about Thursday,” Allen said. “I’m just trying to get a feel for what I need to work on. . . . Thursday’s not a big deal for me.”
It’s true the defensive specialist isn’t likely to be drafted in the upcoming NBA Draft. After all, in his senior season in Milwaukee, the 6-3 guard managed just 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game — not quite eye-opening numbers. But with his own cheering section looking on at his workout on Monday, the local guard was determined to come away with some kind of lesson and a better idea of what he needs to add to his game to be considered among those who are ready to compete in the NBA.
That constant sense of trying to better himself comes from someone who knows the process well. Allen says his brother, Tony, who is also known as somewhat of a defensive specialist for Memphis, has pushed him every step of the way.
It’s definitely been a dose of tough love, to say the least.
“He’s been pretty hard on me throughout the process,” Allen said. “I try to keep as far away from him as possible because he goes really hard on me. . . . He’s never been (easy on me). I think that’s probably why I am the way I am. He’s really hard on me on and off the court, in everything I do.”
But it’s clear that treatment has had a marked effect on the young defensive stopper.
He laid out his basketball plans for reporters at the Cousins Center, confidently claiming that he was open to the opportunity to play in Europe, following this year’s Summer League, which he hopes to be a part of. He doesn’t have outlandish expectations. He’s prepared himself for the worst.
And by doing that and continuing to improve his game, Allen has made an impression — at least on some of the Bucks coaches and management he worked out for on Monday.
“He did a tremendous job for us defensively today,” Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said. “A local player being able to come in and play with us, he’s had three NBA workouts . . . if he’s going to make it on an NBA team it’s certainly going to be as a defensive specialist.
“If he goes overseas and improves on some of the offensive aspects of his game, maybe he’ll find his way back to the NBA.”
If Allen does find his way onto an NBA roster, it’ll be because of hard work — and possibly, a dose of tough love — that he was deemed worthy of playing among the world’s best.
“It is (my dream to play in the NBA),” Allen said. “But I know it’s going to be a process getting there. I’m ready for whatever. I know it’s going to be a process.”