Bloomington, Ind. – A new coach likely means a new role for Ben Allen.
Since returning to Bloomington from a five-week trip to Australia in early June, Indiana's 6-10 sophomore has been spending his time preparing for a season that will involve more time spent in the paint as opposed to the perimeter.
That's the vision first-year Hoosier coach has for Allen, who averaged 3.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 10.0 minutes per game a season ago.
"It's something Coach Sampson talked to me about," Allen said. "I'll probably be playing a lot more inside, being more of a banger."
Despite being the biggest player on the Hoosiers' roster a year ago, much of Allen's contributions involved being a long-range threat from 3-point range. Allen shot 39.5 percent (17-of-43) from deep a year ago, where nearly half (43) of his field goal attempts (87) came from.
Sampson still wants to utilize Allen's shooting skills, but he wants him to become an equally dangerous weapon close to the basket as well.
"Coach has shown me a few go-to post moves that I can do with my right or left hand and I've been working on those everyday," Allen said. "That way, when I go inside I've got that go-to move that's going to work for me."
Developing more post moves isn't the only thing Allen has been doing to become a better interior player. He's also spent plenty of time in the weight room, working with new strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Watkinson.
The work is already paying off. Allen said he's up to 265 pounds, up from the 250 he played at last season.
"I knew when I first got here I had to put on more weight to match up inside," Allen said. "I think I've taken one big step to getting there."
Allen's weekly weight lifting routine involves either four or five days in the gym with Watkinson. While he knows that will be scaled back once practice begins, he said it's obvious there's a greater emphasis placed on weight training with Sampson's staff.
"I think going into the season we'll still do it three times per week, but maybe a little shorter and more concentrated," said Allen. "But I think it will be more than last year."
While there have been long hours in the gym and a degree of uncertainty over his new role, Allen said he's excited about the direction Sampson's staff is going and about his prospects for his sophomore season.
"It was difficult (going through the coaching change), but I'm trying to use it as a chance to start fresh," Allen said. "Obviously, I don't want to start back where I started last year. I have a year under my belt now. I have to come in with that year of experience and really improve.
"I see it as a good, fresh change for us, and the new coaches are really enthusiastic about what they're doing and really looking forward to working with us on the court."
Allen Going Down Under
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