Before he embarks on another SEABL season, Ben Allen has devoted this week to the Under-20’s and Ivor Burge Championships where he is an assistant coach for the ACT Under-20’s Men’s side.

The centre is no stranger to the Junior Championships, achieving the highest success with Victoria Metro in the Under-16’s and the Under-18’s as a bottom and top-ager before finishing with a fourth title in the Under-20’s for Victoria.

“I grew up playing for Victoria and only lost one game across five years so it was a great time,” said Allen.

His junior career was brought to a premature end though, as a stress fracture in his foot forced him to miss his final year as a top-ager in the Under-20’s.

This year provided a chance for Allen to atone for that missed opportunity but his success as a player has unfortunately not been transferred to ACT as they finished the group matches with a 1-5 record.

However, the team has performed admirably under Allen and head coach Jerry Lee, showcasing a tenacity and hunger for the ball that Allen is also known for in SEABL.

It has also been a vital learning experience for Allen himself as he becomes accustomed to the game through a coach’s perspective.

“It’s my first time coaching at a nationals and it’s great to learn from Jerry Lee.”

With the start of the 2016 SEABL season just over a month away, Allen has rejoined the Gunners for a couple of training sessions as the team begins to come together.

“We have a new coach in Brad Davidson and we are always looking for more local talent. We have also signed (Sydney-born) Indiana Faithful and Andrew Rice is making his comeback for the Gunners.”

Davidson, an ex-NBL star, is also the current National Shooting Coach for the Australian Boomers while Faithful comes via Wofford College in South Carolina. Rice is an experienced centre who will directly help alleviate the pressure on Allen who was the team’s best rebounder and second best scorer last season.

Success seemed to be following Allen after his Junior Championship days, as he reached the SEABL Grand Final in two consecutive seasons with the Mt. Gambier Pioneers, taking the title in 2014.

His performances in the clutch also became legendary, nailing two buzzer beater three-pointers in the 2013 and 2014 Semi-Final to help carry the Pioneers into the Championship game.

A move to the Gunners last year could not replicate that success though, with Canberra finishing last in their Conference and missing the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

Allen’s season was just as consistent, averaging a double-double for the third consecutive season while shooting at 44% from the field and 38% from the three-point line.

It is his ability to combine a low-post game with outside shooting that makes him one of the deadliest centres in the league and the early signs at training have Allen positive about the Gunners’ 2016 prospects.

The 2016 SEABL season begins on April 1 while the Under-20 and Ivor Burge Championships conclude Saturday evening.