Having played on Ben Allen in high school nationals, I know first hand the skills the young man holds. Standing 211cm tall, the Melbourne bred big man suited up for his rookie year in the 2011 NBL season with the Townsville Crocs behind former Georgia Tech star, Luke Schenscher.
Before joining the Crocs, Allen was a member of the AIS program and ventured to the US to test his talent in the all-powerful NCAA competition. Allen’s collegiate career included stints with the well-renowned University of Indiana for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons; in 2007-08 he didn’t hit the court but in 2008-09 Allen joined with Saint Mary’s where he averaged 9.1 minutes and 2.2 points per game.
In 2009-10, Allen’s game time increased considerably rose to 27.6 minutes per game which enabled fans to see his true potential as he went close to averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Two key games stand out from Allen’s college career. In the ESPN aired West Coast Conference Tournament final against the highly respected Gonzaga outfit, Allen dropped 20, collected 9 boards, dished off two assists and showed his defensive prowess with two big blocks.
The second game of note was in the sweet sixteen (NCAA Div. 1) round against Baylor in which they went down 49-72 – Baylor would lose narrowly to national champion, Duke. Ben Allen top scored for the Gaels with 16 points, 7 defensive rebounds, three assists and one block.
On Saturday 8 October 2011, Allen will resume his NBL career with his second season against the Cairns Taipans. Allen demonstrated his deftness against Melbourne in his hometown; the centre contributed 12 points, three rebound and two assists in a 15-minute burst against the Tigers.
What makes Allen different from other big men is his unselfishness and ability to find teammates. In his final year with Saint Mary’s Allen averaged 2.2 assists per games; he also maintains an encouraging shooting percentage from outside the key; as well as being 82.1 per cent from the free throw line.
Playing with another AIS centre and graduate, Schenscher, Allen will learn further from the ex-Chicago Bull and Port Trailblazer and progressively gain more and more court time and begin to dominate the league like Ray Borner, Mark Davis, Larry Sengstock, Mark Bradtke, Chris Anstey, Dean Uthoff, John Dorge and Paul Rogers.
The Ben Allen show is just beginning.