For the second straight offseason, Fred Hoiberg turned to the transfer portal to bring a Lincoln native back home. Lincoln North Star alumnus Josiah Allick chose to follow in Sam Griesel’s footsteps by spending his fifth season of college basketball at Nebraska.
Allick was the fourth transfer portal addition Hoiberg made, following commitments from Rienk Mast, Brice Williams and Ahron Ulis. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward average 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 55.7% from the field last season at New Mexico. He spent his first three years at Kansas City, averaging 15.0 points as a sophomore and 12.9 as a junior.
Now he’ll finish up his college career back at home in the scarlet and cream.
Allick was more of a featured option for the Kangaroos, but he took a step up in competition to the Mountain West and played alongside a pretty ball-dominant backcourt with the Lobos, settling in as more of a glue-guy who took advantages of his offensive opportunities when they came while taking on tough defensive assignments.
According to Synergy Sports, Allick scored 0.966 points per possessions (PPP) last season, ranked in the 72nd percentile and considered “very good.” He does most of his damage around the basket, but he has shown the ability to stretch the floor out to the 3-point line.
In his first four years of college, Allick shot a respectable 69.4% at the rim on nearly 400 attempts. He’s shot 68.2% on layups and is 34-for-37 on dunk attempts. The jump shot numbers aren’t quite as encouraging as Synergy has him 52-for-168 (31.0%) on jump shots for his career — 9-for-18 on 2-point jumpers and 43-for-150 on 3s. However, he shot 29-for-81 (35.8%) during his sophomore and junior years before the shot abandoned him at New Mexico last season (6-for-38).
Let’s dive into the film to break down his game even further.
Allick’s primary play type over the past three seasons has been post-up including 24.7% of his possession this past season. He scored 1.139 PPP (94th percentile, “excellent”) and shot 58.9% from the field while drawing a foul on 15.3% of his possessions and turning it over 11.1% of the time.
At New Mexico, he spent most of his time at the four playing alongside another big man, and he was rarely a primary option. However, he still got his by being smart and physical, taking advantage of opportunities for quick duck-ins and hard seals to get easy buckets. He runs the floor hard in transition looking to seal and he likes to punish teams when they switch a smaller defender onto him. He uses quality footwork — he’s a big fan of the drop step in particular — and is comfortable shooting with either had around the rim. He’s also capable of putting the ball on the deck and dribbling multiple times to back down his man and get to his spots.
According to Synergy, Allick has shot 49.6% (61-of-123) on hook shots, though his efficiency there took a hit this past season. Still, he’s shown good touch and the ability to make that hook shot a weapon.
Allick isn’t a black hole in the post, however, and his teammates at New Mexico took advantage of his passing prowess to knock down shots at a high rate. According to Synergy, teammates shot 15-of-21 on plays where Allick passed out of the post. He reads and reacts to the defense quickly, identifying where to go with the ball and often putting it on the money. He’s a good big-to-big passer as well and sees cutters when defenders turn their heads to focus on him.
I can see a frontcourt of Allick and Mast working well together. Both are strong post scorers who can also play on the perimeter. If Allick has a good matchup, Nebraska can play through him in the post while Mast stretches the floor.
Synergy only has 292 scoring possessions logged for Allick last season, and Allick doesn’t have a play type other than post-up with at least 50 possessions. Even so, he shows capability in a lot of different areas.
Allick’s second-most common play type is cut at 16.8% (49 possessions). He scored 1.163 PPP (47th percentile, “average”), shooting 67.6%. It appears as if poor free-throw shooting has dragged down his efficiency a bit as he earned a trip to the line on 26.5% of his possessions (13 in total, including a couple of and-ones) yet only converted them into 11 points.
Allick is a smart cutter who works the baseline well, cutting out of the corner or staying to the weak side and waiting for a teammate to draw the defense and dump it off to him. He’s a but undersized which can hurt his finishing as longer defenders recover and challenge his shot, but he’s quick off his feet.
Again, Allick played the four primarily for New Mexico and spent a lot of time playing on the perimeter. He logged 46 spot-up possessions (15.6%), scoring 0.609 PPP (12th percentile, “poor”) while shooting 22.5% from the field. He shot 3-of-12 on 2s and 6-of-28 on 3s, having little success either firing away on the catch or attacking.
Allick had a tough time knocking down shots this season, and many of the misses weren’t even close. As a result, teams stopped guarding him on the perimeter, which means most of the shots he took when he turned down an open look to attack were contested.
However, in his previous two seasons at Kansas City, he scored 1.175 PPP (90th percentile “excellent”) and 1.2 PPP (93rd percentile, “excellent”). In his three seasons at Kansas City, he shot 20-of-42 (47.6%) on spot-up 3s. A return to form from the perimeter would be big for both Allick and Nebraska, and Hoiberg prides himself on his ability to work with shooters and help them improve.
I includes clips from both New Mexico and Kansas City to show his potential in spot-up situations.
Allick got more opportunities to score in the open floor at New Mexico than he did at Kansas City, logging more transition possessions in 2022-23 than he did in his three years as a Kangaroo combined. Transition made up 13.7% of his possessions and scored 1.125 PPP (66th percentile, “very good”), shooting 64.3% from the field (18-of-25 on 2s, 0-of-3 on 3s) with a 15% foul rate and a 17.5% turnover rate.
Allick’s motor is one of his biggest strengths, and you see that in transition. He runs the floor hard and puts a lot of pressure on the rim. The open floor gives him more opportunities to show off his athleticism and ability to play above the rim. Like I mentioned above, he does a good job of forcing mismatches by running the floor then sealing a smaller defender for easy scoring opportunities.
We know Hoiberg like to play fast when he has the personnel to do so, and Allick fits right in with that.
Pick-and-Roll Roll Man
Allick set a lot more ball screens at Kansas City, where he was often playing the five for the Kangaroos. As mentioned, he played primarily the four at New Mexico alongside another true big , and New Mexico’s guards didn’t look to get the ball to big men in ball screen situations much anyway.
This past season, Allick got the ball as a roll man on 10.3% of his possessions, scoring 0.9 PPP (34th percentile, “average”). He was efficient at the basket (12-of-16) but misfired on all seven of his pick-and-pop attempts. For his career, Allick is 13-for-62 (21%) on pick-and-pop 3s. Whereas he’s shown potential as a spot-up shooter, he’s always struggled on those shots off the pop for whatever reason.
What he doesn’t struggle with is rolling hard to the rim and finishing strong. He also has the touch and footwork to score over the top if a defender rotates to cut him off on the catch. He didn’t have a ton of short-roll opportunities but did display the ability to make the correct pass when the situation calls for it.
The final offensive play type we’ll focus on here is offensive rebounding, which made up 9.6% of his possessions. Allick was second in the Mountain West in offensive rebounds, and he scored 1.107 PPP (51st percent, “good”) when he looked to go back up with it. He actually converted 14 of his 17 put-back attempts and got to the line on 14.3% of those possessions, but he also turned the ball over at twice that rate to drag his efficiency down.
Allick is great at getting and holding position when a shot goes up, and he’s quick off his feet with a great second jump. He actually followed up his own miss for a put-back four different times last year.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at the other side of the ball. Allick has played the four and five spots throughout his college career, but it appears New Mexico had no qualms with putting him on opposing wings defensively. I don’t know that I’d call him an elite defender from what I’ve seen, but he plays hard and knows where he’s supposed to be, and those two traits go a long way.
When he’s defending away from the ball, Allick is cognizant of help responsibilities then works hard to recover to his man if the ball moves. In spot-up situations, he flies out hard to contest shots, though he has somewhat heavy feet and oftentimes has trouble staying in front if his man chooses to attack.
In the post, Allick is a little undersized and bigger forwards and centers can finish over the top of him without too much resistance. However, he does a good job of staying between his man and the rim and playing physically. He bodies up offensive players with his chest and shows his hands.
Because he’s often guarding perimeter players, he also has to navigate a lot of screens, something he understandably struggles with considering he’s a frontcourt player. When he’s defending ball handlers, he’ll often go under ball screens and give up the pull-up 3, likely do in part to his struggles to get over the top of screens and stay attached to his man. The same is true of him defending handoffs and off-ball screens, though he did show instances of doing a good job of recovering enough to cut off driving lanes.
New Mexico asked Allick to show and recover on a lot of ball screens, and he was pretty good at it. He works hard to shuffle his feet and is active with his hands in those situations, then hustles to recover to his man. However, again he struggles to close out aggressively without giving up driving lanes.
In isolation, he’s again active with his hands and works hard to slides his feet and stay in front of his man. Opposing players hit some really tough shots against him on plays where he defended quite well, which is why evaluating defense should be more process-focused than results-based.
After watching so much of Allick’s tape, I don’t know that there’s any one thing that he excels out. However, he can help the Huskers in a lot of different ways and I’m excited to see what a fully healthy Allick looks like in Hoiberg’s system.