Justin Allen grew up in Malta, Illinois (population 800) and graduated from Malta high school (student enrollment 78) in 1999 where he was a two time All-State Basketball Player, a Three Time Little Ten Conference All-Conference performer, and graduatedwith a 3.875 GPA. During his four years at Malta High School he scored 2,143 points and pulled down 929 rebounds, setting school records in both categories. Justin never played club basketball and only participating in a handful of showcases during the summer months going into his Senior Season. Justin’s mother, Faye Allen, read a book on recruitment and they started building a highlight tape, mixed in a full game film, and built a resume that they sent off to over 20 colleges in hopes of recruiting the recruiters. Days after the tapes went out, Justin started to get phone calls from several division 1 colleges across the nation, and his college interest grew. After meeting with the Arizona State University coaching staff, and taking a visit to Tempe, Arizona; Justin decided that ASU was the place he wanted to advance his academic and basketball career.
Justin was a member of the Arizona State University basketball team for 5 seasons (2000-2005). After a promising freshman season and a productive offseason, Justin was on track to play a major role for the Sun Devils during his sophomore season. While in Illinois working during the pre-season, Justin started to lose weight and thought he had a pulled abdominal muscle, due to the pain in his stomach. Justin returned to ASU after summer break and continued to lose weight, while the pain in his stomach continued to increase. Months went by and the ASU medical team performed test after test. With still no conclusion on what was causing the extreme weight loss and the pain he was experiencing, Justin continued to play. During a morning workout with the team, Justin bent down to tie his shoe and was unable to get up. The medical staff rushed him to the doctors office and tests were performed that finally revealed the shocking diagnosis that would soon change his life. Justin can vividly remember hearing the words “You have cancer,” come from the doctor’s mouth. The next day he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a type of Lymphoma Cancer. The cancer had taken 50 pounds off his 230 pound frame, and for the next year he would undergo a battle in the hospital against the biggest opponent he had ever faced in his life. He underwent 6 months of ABVD chemotherapy, and 8 weeks of radiation. During these hard times he had the unwavering support of his family, a community, and a close knit ASU athletic program. While in the hospital he had an experience, a sort of awakening that forever changed his life. One minute he was an 18-year-old basketball player with dreams of playing for a championship, and suddenly he was facing the biggest challenge of his life. Justin shifted his attention to battling not on the basketball court, but instead battling for his life. After a year long battle with cancer, Justin learned that there was no sign of the tumors that once had filled his body and he immediately, against all odds, set his sights on a return to the court. The experience had been a traumatic one, but the shift in his attitude and academics would ultimately prove the experience to be invaluable to his development as an athlete and more importantly a person. The very next season Justin found himself on the court and in a Sun Devil Uniform, a feat that many didn’t think was possible. Justin played another three years at Arizona State going to the NIT tournament 2 times and the final 32 in the NCAA tournament in 2004.
During his time at ASU, Justin was awarded:
The Jimmy Valvano National Comeback Player of the Year
The Gene Autry Courage Award
The NCAS Courage Award
The Sparky Golden Heart Award
Featured in”100 Heroes: People in sports who make this a better world,” by Richard E. Lapchick
3-time Pac-10 All Academic award winner.
Upon graduation Justin took a head varsity coaching job at Florence High School in Florence, Arizona. During his first season coaching, Justin learned valuable lessons on player and personal development of youth athletes and thought that he had started his career as a high school coach. After just one season, Justin participated in a Free Agent Camp at an international scouting event in Las Vegas, NV and in 5 games averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds, shooting over 55 percent from the NBA three point line. A career shift was about to happen, unintentionally, but again one that would prove to play a vital role in Justin’s development as a player, coach, trainer, mentor, and person. Justin signed with an agent and said goodbye to his high school team as he continued chasing his own dream of playing basketball professionally. Justin spent five years playing professional basketball internationally in places such as Argentina, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Kuwait, Israel, and South Korea. In 2009 Justin ended his playing career and started coaching club basketball for Arizona Premier Basketball Academy, under the leadership of Russ Pennell (U of A, Grand Canyon University, and Phoenix Mercury Head Coach). After two years coaching for Arizona Premier, Justin created his own basketball training and club team business, Arizona Passion4ball where he has the ability to utilize his passion for basketball and life to inspire others to utilize the game of basketball as a vessel to develop, mature, and pursue their own unique journey. Recently, Justin has formed a motivational and inspirational company called, Chase My Passion, which is now featuring a children’s book that is a based on Justin’s Life. He spends a considerable amount of time speaking at schools and events about his story, chasing dreams, and overcoming adversity.
ARTICLES IN NEWSPAPER:
1. Gregg Doyel CBS Sports Article:
2. TheSunDevils.com Article on 2003 Jimmy V Award:
3. Chicago Tribune Article:
4. AZ Central Article by Paola Bolvin:
5. DeKalb Chronicle Article on Training, Camps, Teaching:
6. DeKalb Chronicle Spotlight:
7. First Game Back: Courage Article
8. Camp in Illinois Article:
9. Japan Times: Article Written by Ed Odeven
10. Game Theory Group Article: