Allen taps into inner aggression
A VOLATILE ‘‘ Reptile Rumble’’ at The Snakepit is the perfect environment for the real Ben Allen to lash out.
In fact, the 23-year-old has gone so far as to invite the Taipans to get under his skin in Friday’s northern derby.
It’s not that Allen is a glutton for punishment, but rather he was remi n d e d b y Me l b o u r n e ’ s Wad e Helliwell at the weekend what a good dose of rage can do for his game.
‘‘ I played angry, Wade sparked me up a little bit,’’ Allen said.
‘‘ It was good going at him. I’ve got no idea what he did, I think we were just banging and he might have popped me one and got me angry. From there I just thought ‘ well, it’s on now’.’’
Allen absorbed the physical battering and unleashed a game-defining final-term performance with his fury, hitting 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Having produced a season-best performance, Allen is now looking for trouble.
‘‘ When I play with that bit of fire, then I play better so I really need to look to try get that against Cairns this week,’’ Allen said.
‘‘ I’ll find someone to pick on in that game. ( Ian) Crosswhite or ( Alex) Loughton, either one of them can get me angry.’’
T h e r e i s
met h o d
b e h i n d
t h e rookie’s madness. Simply put, a temper makes up for trepidation.
‘‘ It’s that aggressiveness, backing yourself and when I do that I’m a good player,’’ he said.
‘‘ It’s when I second guess myself and not go at something like 100 per cent, that is when I get myself into trouble and I don’t play well.’’
Too often that has been the case for one of the nation’s highest-rated young talents, who came off a stunning final year with US college giants St Mary’s in the NCAA.
The adjustment to the NBL in his first professional season has been tough on the centre, who went from starting five senior to playing for rationed minutes in support of leading big Luke Schenscher.
‘‘ You sit for a while on the bench and then come in kind of knowing your role playing four or five minutes here and there to replace Schensch, so I go out there and think ‘ I don’t want to mess anything up’,’’ Allen said.
‘‘ You go out there not trying to turn the ball over and just pull down as many rebounds as I can, just doing the little things.
‘‘ Once you get yourself into that role, it’s hard to see yourself as a fulltime scorer on a team.’’
But in a stunning 15-minute stint, he’s regained an aura of his former self and filled his teammates with unwavering belief in his versatility.
And it’s come in the nick of time for a side chasing its maiden championship.
‘‘ You always want to play your best basketball towards the end when it counts the most,’’ he said.