Duke Junior Shooting Guard Grayson Allen clearly has a tripping problem.
On Wednesday, as Duke was in a tight battle with Elon University, Allen tripped Elon guard Steven Santa Ana after he got beat off the dribble. The trip seemed to be in retaliation to Santa Ana grabbing Allen’s arm and getting tangled up before he made a spin move towards the basket.
For most players, during the intense action of any game, bodies will get tangled up and people will hit the floor. We see accidental actions that result in these types of things all of the time and the situation usually blows over very quickly, but when you’re Grayson Allen and this is the third time you have done something like this, the situation becomes serious and something that has to be addressed.
Allen got caught tripping an opponent on two occasions last season, and they were both played off as inadvertent. This time was different. It was clear that Allen intended to trip Santa Ana and what made it worse was his reaction after the fact where he raised his arms up in disgust and confusions as to why the call was on him. He then blew up on the bench during the next time out, furiously hitting the chair next to him, and screaming in anger to the point where Jon Scheyer, Duke assistant coach, had to restrain and calm him down.
For the action and the tantrum that followed, Allen sat out the rest of the first half, and he was clearly distraught on the bench as his face was bright red. The frustration and rage all in his body language was tangible.
Duke would end up winning the game, but that wasn’t the story. After the game, Coach K confronted the media and was asked about the situation to which he gave a stern reply.
“I handle things the way I handle them,” the Duke coach said. “And I think I’ve handled this correctly, and I will continue to handle it correctly, and I don’t need to satisfy what other people think I should do.”
On the surface, these comments sounded back-handed and like he was once again going to let Allen pass for an act that shouldn’t happen on a basketball court. However, the next day, news broke that Duke had suspended Allen indefinitely, which means that whenever Coach K feels like he can return to the team, then that’s when he will.
This was the obvious thing to do here, so there are no pats on the back for Coach K for this. In fact, many people believe that Allen should have been suspended last season after he did it the second time.
With this indefinite suspension, Coach K and Duke need to ensure that Grayson Allen feels the burn of it.
Max Kellerman alluded to this during ESPN2’s First Take on Thursday when he said that Allen needs to be treated like a kid in this situation. To paraphrase, Allen needs to be taught not to do this again and be given a punishment extreme enough so that he doesn’t touch the stove when it’s hot anymore.
This suspension should put Allen in a place of reflection as he has to watch his team go to battle in a tough schedule without him. This suspension should extend even into conference play so that Allen has to feel the burn of letting his team down in the immediate future for something that can easily have been avoided on many levels. This suspension should bring Allen to a point where he will miss the game and his team so much that anytime he feels like he’s reaching his boiling point, he will remember these times when his team needed their best player, but he couldn’t help because he let his emotions get the best of them.
With the prestige of Coach K, I hope that this suspension spans a good amount of time, for his sake and for Allen’s sake. Although he is their best player, Duke is one of the most talented teams in the country and should be able to hold the fort down while he is gone. Of course, you can only go so long without your primary option scoring wise, so we’ll see how long this suspension lasts.
If Allen wants to grow and move on from this, it needs to burn and it needs to burn slow.
How long do you think Allen’s should be? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.