Grayson Allen is one of the best college basketball players currently playing. From his three-point shooting to his athleticism near the rim, he’s one of the toughest players to guard. Despite his talent level, Allen is also the most controversial player in college basketball.
Last season, on February 8, 2016, Allen intentionally tripped a Louisville guard who was starting a fast break. Everyone knew that he had purposefully tripped the player and made a mistake. What people did not know, was that this was just the beginning of Allen’s questionable decision making on the court.
Less than three weeks later, on February 25, Allen deliberately stuck his foot out to trip Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a sophomore guard from Florida State, in the final seconds of a Blue Devils win. After the second incident, Allen’s tripping had gone from a mistake on the court to an ongoing epidemic.
Fast forward to this season, when Allen tripped an opponent yet again. On December 21, 2016, Allen stuck his leg straight out and tripped an Elon player who was driving along the baseline. After being assessed a technical foul, Allen went to the bench and proceeded to throw a tantrum. Assistant Coach Jon Scheyer, a former Duke player, helped restrain Allen as he yelled and punched the air in regret.
Allen was issued an indefinite suspension following the game by his Head Coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Although it was labeled as “indefinite”, Allen’s suspension only lasted one game.
Allen has shown a great deal of maturity in his recent games. On January 28, in Duke’s match-up with Wake Forest, a skirmish broke out near Wake’s bench. Allen stood away from his opponents, as he raised his hands in the air, as if to say, “I’ve got nothing to do with this.” A Wake Forest guard was issued a technical foul for shoving Allen to the ground.
Now, I’ll do my best to understand what has prompted Allen to make the same mistake repeatedly. First off, Grayson Allen is an incredibly shy kid who also happens to be very competitive. His competitive nature is the reason for the edginess he plays with and the reason he plays so hard. I don’t believe Allen is a so-called “dirty” player, rather someone with an impulse issue. However, this isn’t an excuse for Allen’s tripping, rather a potential explanation as to why he has made the same play time and time again. After the Elon game, Allen tearfully apologized, saying “It’s not a play I’m proud of… I don’t plan on doing it again.”
Although a common comparison for Grayson Allen is former Duke player, Christian Laettner, I don’t think they have shared the same motives for their actions. Laettner was an unapologetic, dirty player. Whereas Allen has sincerely apologized for his plays multiple times and even cried while doing so. Laettner had a mentality as if to say, “Yeah, I’m a hated, dirty player, but there is nothing that can or will stop me.” On the other hand, Allen has a much milder demeanor. Either he deeply regrets his past actions, or he does a great job acting like it. I personally don’t believe a player could be brought to tears in a post-game interview without having heartfelt sorrow in his words.
Whether you like him or not, Grayson Allen is a top of the line college basketball player, and that cannot be disputed.