Foreign Flavor

One of Indiana's biggest trouble areas last season was lack of depth in the post. With Sean Kline battling knee troubles and Patrick Ewing Jr. constantly battling foul trouble, the Hoosiers had little to throw at opponents after the freshman combo of forwards D.J. White and Robert Vaden.

One of Indiana's biggest trouble areas last season was lack of depth in the post. With Sean Kline battling knee troubles and Patrick Ewing Jr. constantly battling foul trouble, the Hoosiers had little to throw at opponents after the freshman combo of forwards D.J. White and Robert Vaden.

One year later and the Hoosiers almost have too many post players to know what to do with. Leading the way are seniors Auburn-transfer Marco Killingsworth and Sean Kline, while White is recovering from a foot injury suffered during exhibition play and is expected to return for Big Ten play. Then Indiana coach Mike Davis can call on two of his latest recruits, two players expected to make large contributions to the Indiana program – 6-10 Ben Allen from Australia and 6-10 Gem Dinc from Germany.

"I want to do whatever I can to contribute to the team this year," said Allen. "Go in and help out Marco (Killingsworth) and DJ (White). I am not looking to play a lot, I just want to go in and help out as much as I can."

Allen is the latest find of Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp. While Rupp was an assistant at Utah under then-head coach Rick Majerus he noticed Allen while at the Australian Institute of Sport. Rupp was there recruiting future NBA first-round pick Andrew Bogut. Allen is expected to be a major contributor for the Hoosiers and scored his first points at Indiana last Monday in Indiana's 100-63 win over Florida A&M. Allen scored eight points in twelve minutes.

"The people here are fantastic," said Allen. "Everyone around here has made it really easy on me to come over here and continue my life and settle in well. Everyone is really friendly, practice is great and the coaches are great. Anything that I miss from home I have found here, so that's what had ultimately made the difference."

Dinc had a more indirect trip to Bloomington. After playing in the 2005 European Championship games as a member of the Turkish national team, Dinc decided he wanted to play basketball in America and planned trips to many of the top programs in the nation including Indiana, North Carolina and Kansas.

"There are two major reasons I picked IU," said Dinc. "The first is I really liked this place when I came here. People showed me a lot of hospitality and everyone was very nice to me. I had a great time. Maybe it was the weather. But honestly I had such a great time here and I saw the facility and I met some fans. Everyone has shown a lot of enthusiasm and this is a great basketball tradition.

"The second reason was because my national team coach from Turkey coached Mike Davis. So there's this personal connection and that gave me a good feeling that I could trust Mike Davis and showed me that he wanted me here. He showed me that if I work hard, he can help me develop into a really good player."

The adjustment for these two foreign-born Hoosiers has been difficult at times. Dinc arrived in Bloomington after the school year began and Allen came to Indiana to play four games with his fellow recruits on a barnstorming tour hours after competing for Australia in the FIBA World Championship for Young Men. Both players came in a page behind the rest of the team and have been playing catchup since.

"I think at the beginning I had a hard time, especially learning the plays because the guys didn't know me and the ways I run," said Dinc. "It's been getting better and it's going to get better every day. I think playing-wise I'm making the transition fine."

Among the transitions, the hardest for each player has been moving from only basketball to basketball and school.

"I haven't picked a major yet," said Allen. "I'm using this year as a chance to get familiar with the college system. Going to classes has been interesting. I get a lot of people coming up to me and saying good luck for the season which is great. It's nice to see how many people really love basketball here."

Dinc has had similar troubles after spending an entire summer using almost all of his time on the basketball court.

"The biggest transition off the court has been combining academics and sports together on this high level at the same time," said Dinc. "When I was with the national team this summer, we concentrated only on sports. We practiced twice a day and it was not that tiring. Here you have to organize your time with your classes and even when you eat. You have to make sure you get your meal because when you get to practice then you're tired. It's hard to combine those things. That has been the biggest transition for me."

Indiana fans got a glimpse of both Allen and Dinc during Midnight Madness when both made their debuts in Cream and Crimson. While both were nervous, Allen had perhaps one of the worst Hoosier Hysterias possible. On the first play during the scrimmage, Allen took an elbow from Killingsworth to the nose and was forced to spend the night going to the hospital for X-rays.

"I hope my career goes better than Hoosier Hysteria," said Allen. "That was crazy. I was looking forward to my first Midnight Madness, I was in the three-point contest, and hopefully I was going to win it. And then I get hit in the nose on the first play. They took me to the hospital to straighten my nose out so I didn't get to see anything else that happened."

That night had a much better result for Dinc.

"Hoosier Hysteria was something that everyone really talked about a lot and it was a great experience for me," said Dinc. "It was the first time I played in front of such a crowd and people keep telling me more fans come to games. I took part in all three contests, but I was so nervous. It was such a great feeling knowing the crowd was behind me. It was great."

Both Allen and Dinc have seen playing time since the season started. In the win over Florida A&M, Allen played 12 minutes and Dinc four. Both will still have quirks to figure while adjusting to American basketball, but both agree they made the correct decision coming to Bloomington.

"Bloomington is great," said Dinc. "I love everything about it. The thing that sticks out most is how kind the people are to me. Whether they're young or older, they love Indiana basketball and they will take time to say hello and wish me luck. I've never had that happen to me before."

Peegs.com Top Stories