Grayson Allen

Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Grayson Allen is…funny?


The last year led to a lot of people having opinions on Grayson Allen. The Duke star invited most of them thanks to his tripping and his outbursts, as well as the simple fact he plays for the Blue Devils, who always seem to attract plenty of hate from the masses.

While Allen is one of college basketball’s best players, he’s also one of its most ridiculed. More people than not probably have a poor opinion about the guy due to his bizarre tripping habit and the bench meltdown from last season. He’s an easy target that brought a lot of criticism on himself with his actions.

This summer, though, Allen has started to show another side to his personality through social media. It turns out he might actually be funny.

The world is full of surprises.

Here’s an example from today, with Allen not only some comedy chops, but some self-deprecation and self-awareness – two important traits for someone who might need some reputation rehab – as he pokes fun of the Internet’s suggestion that he’s a dead ringer for Texas senator Ted Cruz, as well as Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, apparently.

That was just the most recent example, though. Earlier this month, he ribbed maybe the Internet’s only more favorite villain, LaVar Ball.

And before that, he had some fun with the fact that he’ll almost assuredly be tabbed to our Perry Ellis All-Stars team for his final collegiate season this fall.

So, yeah, Grayson Allen’s rep took a bunch of hits last year for some bad behavior. Maybe there’s more there, though.

VIDEO: Grayson Allen T’d up after slamming ball

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Every outburst and perceived misstep from Grayson Allen has been dissected and discussed to great lengths.

Add another to the list.

The Duke guard received a technical foul in the first half of the Blue Devils’ ACC tournament opener against Clemson.

This is a pretty run-of-the-mill technical (and maybe even a little ticky-tacky), but given Allen’s track record, every flare-up from him seems noteworthy.

Duke and Krzyzewski have “a decision” to make as injuries linger

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
1 Comment

Duke missed the production of veterans Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson on Saturday in its 55-50 loss to Miami, the Blue Devils’ second-straight loss after falling to Syracuse earlier in the week. It also missed their influence on the offensive end.

Allen missed the game with an ankle injury while the foot problem that sidelined Jefferson for a pair of games in January continues to be an issue and limited to minor second-half minutes Saturday. Without the pair, Duke shot 31.8 percent from the floor and had 13 turnovers against the Hurricanes.

We need those guys to calm people down on the offensive end,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. “The continuity on the offensive end is not up to par with the defense.”

Both players will be re-evaluated before Tuesday’s home contest against Florida State, but Jefferson’s injury would appear to be the most concerning given it has lingered for well over a month now.

“I’ve got to make a decision with Amile,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s not running. He is not running at all.”

Duke could likely make it work in the short term if it was short just one of the Allen-Jefferson duo, but without both it stresses the ballhandling, playmaking and inexperienced frontcourt all at the same time. Luke Kennard was the only Blue Devil to crack double figures scoring against the ‘Canes while freshmen Marques Bolden and Harry Giles, who both have had their injury issues, were relatively ineffective in player fewer than 20 minutes apiece. Both Kennard and Jayson Tatum played a full 40.

At the start of the season, Duke had the look of a juggernaut, but given the multitude of issues they’ve faced seemingly from the jump, it has a bit of a slog with only a seven-game winning streak to have eased their pain all year.

What made the Blue Devils look so formidable before the season was their sheer level of talent. With Allen and Jefferson ailing, the move for Krzyzewski might be to just bet on that talent in the NCAA tournament rather than jockey for seeding position. He could keep Jefferson and Allen on the shelf as they heal, give Giles and Bolden a ton of run and then just make a go of it in the Big Dance, betting on the talent overcoming the inconsistency of the season.

Like Krzyzewski said about Jefferson, he’s got a decision to make.

Four Takeaways from Virginia Tech’s win over No. 5 Duke

(Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

Virginia Tech picked up a potential signature victory as they took advantage of Grayson Allen’s suspension and ran past No. 5 Duke for a 89-75 home ACC win.

The Hokies jumped out to a big early lead that turned into 47-31 by halftime as they were never seriously threatened in the second half. The Blue Devils were playing without Allen — the junior Player of the Year candidate who was suspended indefinitely following his third tripping incident in a win over Elon — for the first time and the 10-day layoff, a tough road game and the conference opener all combined for an ugly effort.

Here are four things we learned from this game.

1. Duke still has to figure out its defense: The biggest takeaway from this game is that Duke’s defense needs to improve a lot in order from them to win the national championship. While Duke’s offense suffered without Grayson Allen, its defense was completely atrocious in allowing Virginia Tech looks from all over the floor.

Perimeter defenders were getting blown by and big men weren’t protecting at the rim — a total failure that led to Virginia Tech shooting 55 percent from the field and 61 percent from three-point range.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Audioboom

Allen’s return to the lineup should obviously help with some of the perimeter problems but the bigger issue here is Duke’s glaring lack of a rim protector. Amile Jefferson is more of a rebounder and best suited with a big man next to him while freshmen like Marques Bolden and Harry Giles are just returning from injury. Bolden can wall up and be a presence, but he’s never been noted as a plus shot blocker, while Giles is at his best as a rebounder.

We can’t expect Duke to just develop a rim protector overnight — although that can improve a bit — but they can get better at preventing guards from just coasting to the bucket. And this entire Duke team can also stand to be more physical on the defensive end.

2. Virginia Tech picked up a signature victory: Buzz Williams didn’t exactly put his team through a rigorous non-conference schedule leading up to this point, but it doesn’t matter now, as the Hokies have a win over a potential No. 1 seed.

While Virginia Tech had only a road win at Michigan to show for its non-conference schedule, this win should certainly give the Hokies a lot of momentum. The key for this team securing a NCAA tournament bid could come in the next few games. If Virginia Tech is able to split its next four games (at N.C. State, at Florida State, Syracuse, Notre Dame) then it will be off to a solid start heading into a winnable home game against Georgia Tech.

You wouldn’t think of Blacksburg as a place you wouldn’t want to play but the Hokies have knocked off three top-10 opponents at home over the last calendar year.

3. Duke’s freshmen are still adjusting to the college game: We heard so much about Duke’s freshmen class entering this season and they’re finally all seeing the floor as we begin conference play (even seldom-talked-about forward Jack White got minutes for Duke in the Virginia Tech loss…).

But this talented group still has adjustments to make as we enter the tough part of the schedule. After the hot start, guard Frank Jackson was only 3-for-9 from the field for six points in the Virginia Tech loss while Jayson Tatum (18 points, seven rebounds) picked it up after a slow shooting start.

Harry Giles showed some flashes in finishing with four points and six rebounds (the offensive putback, in particular, was a classic Giles play when he was healthy as he has such a natural gift of timing on offensive putbacks) but he doesn’t have the wind or confidence to be relied on yet.

Marques Bolden contributed three rebounds off the bench and didn’t provide any rim protection when Duke desperately needed some.

Tatum and Jackson will be aided by Allen’s return and Giles and Bolden will get more comfortable as they get more healthy and active but this Duke team is still going to need a lot from its veterans to make a title run.

4. Virginia Tech’s balance is tremendous: The Hokies don’t have one-and-done, five-star prospects or a lot of pro prospects. They’re not going to get the hype of certain teams because their own conference is littered with teams that have both.

But the Hokies are filled with confidence and aggressive players who perfectly embody what Buzz Williams likes out of his teams. Williams has multiple guards who can attack and make plays in Seth Allen, Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs while Chris Clarke has become a versatile double-double threat who is one of the toughest players in the ACC. Ahmed Hill is a valuable slasher while Zach LeDay is underrated on the interior.

I just named six talented players for the Hokies and any of those guys can lead them to victory. If all six of them finish in double-figures — as the Hokies did in the win against Duke — that’s when Virginia Tech can hang with any team in the country. This team is going to get plenty of battles in the ACC and they’ll be equipped to handle most of them because of this team’s unique toughness and balance.

VIDEO: Coach K joins the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Grayson Allen


Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski joined the show on Thursday to discuss Grayson Allen and the suspension that was handed down for Allen’s third tripping incident in 2016.

Coach K also discussed the suspension on his Sirius XM radio show:

Which Grayson Allen returns, not when Grayson Allen returns, is the question


The biggest question for the Blue Devils moving forward isn’t going to be how many games Grayson Allen gets suspended.

They don’t play again until New Year’s Eve, a trip to Blacksburg to face a good Virginia Tech team. Then they get the two worst teams in the ACC, Georgia Tech and Boston College, at home before a trip to Florida State. It’s not until the fifth game of the season, a visit to Louisville on January 14th, that Duke will get their first major test of the ACC season.

If I had to set the over/under on how many games Allen will get suspended, I would set it at 2.5 … and take the under. I’d be shocked if his suspension lasted until Duke’s trip to Tallahassee, which means that, at worst, the Blue Devils would come out of this with a 2-1 record. They could still win the ACC title. It certainly wouldn’t hurt their national title chances much.

And that’s assuming that Allen is a piece that Duke cannot live without, which is certainly not the case. The Blue Devils are 11-1 on the season, their only loss coming to Kansas on a buzzer-beater, and they’ve done it with Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles III and Allen all missing time. Luke Kennard is playing like an all-american. Amile Jefferson is playing like an all-american. There are enough weapons on this team to get to a Final Four if Allen spends the rest of the season on the shelf.

No, the biggest question for Duke is going to be which Grayson Allen returns, and whether or not he’s going to be able to A) handle the criticism leveled at him stemming from his latest tripping incident and B) provide the leadership that a struggling Duke team needs.

And yes, Duke is struggling.

They trailed Tennessee State midway through the second half on Monday. They trailed Elon at halftime. They won those games by a combined 21 points. They were favored by a combined 53.5 points.

The problem, according to Luke Kennard, is selfishness.

“These last two games, we struggled in all sorts of aspects of the game,” Kennard told the Fayetteville Observer. “I just don’t think we’re a very unselfish team right now. And that’s both offensively and defensively. We’ve just got to figure out who we’re going to be.”

“Everybody … they’re not bought in,” Kennard added. “They’re not all the way consumed in winning. Everybody’s not consumed in just being one. It’s not in a bad way at all. I’m just saying, in our minds, some of us have, we just want to be inside of ourselves. Especially when we hit adversity, we want to try to take over the game or we want to try and make the big play and sometimes it’s not the right play. It’s happened constantly throughout these past couple games.”

In other words, Duke lacks a clearly defined leader. There are too many alphas on a roster that lacks a true point guard. When Duke needs a bucket, there are too many guys on the roster that decide it’s their time to go 1-on-1, to try to takeover. That’s what they do. It’s what they’ve done the entire time they’ve been a basketball player. It’s how their wired.

What they need is a veteran that can handle the responsibility that comes with being the primary ball-handler, with being a distributor, with being a leader. That guy was supposed to be Allen. We all heard about how much work he had put in at being a lead guard during the summer and in the preseason. This was when it was supposed to pay off. This is when they need him.

So what will Allen be when he returns to Duke from winter break? He averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 boards and 3.5 assists last season while shooting 41.6 percent from three. He was awesome. He scored three points on 1-for-8 shooting last night and was a non-entity when he returned to the game after the trip.

He’s is, officially, Duke’s difference-maker now.

Can he handle the onslaught of criticism he’s going to get from now until football kicks off on Christmas Eve? Does he have the mental fortitude to be able to carry the weight of this baggage? Will he be tough enough to deal with the fact that he himself is the only one that carries any blame for his evolution into being college basketball’s most notorious villain?

Allen is a 21-year old man. He threw a temper tantrum on the bench last night. But if a 21-year old man is throwing temper tantrums, it’s fair to wonder where or not he’s mentally ready to handle the role Duke needs him to play.