Forgiving Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen instagram

Duke senior Grayson Allen has easily become college basketball’s most recent villain over the past couple seasons.

It’s a torch that seems to have been passed down from previous hated Duke players such as Christian Laettner, J.J. Redick, and many others before them. .  

College basketball fans have hated Allen ever since the his initial tripping incident last season, when Allen tripped Louisville’s Ray Spalding.

Allen fueled the fire when two more similar incidents took place against Elon University and Florida State University. Although Allen was suspended for the spiral of events, the trials he sustained on social media were much less forgiving – and he remains public enemy No. 1 to many Duke foes.

Will America ever forgive and forget Allen’s tripping scandal?   

Here’s why we should…

 

He apologized

After receiving a technical foul for tripping Elon player Steven Santa Ana, everyone remembers Allen’s meltdown on the bench.

Allen was upset with himself but took responsibility and apologized to the opposing player involved and Elon’s coach, Mike Matheny.

Santa Ana accepted Allen’s apology and even added that they just “got tangled up.” ,

Allen came up to me and apologized to me and was very sincere about it, and I accepted his apology,” Santa Ana said.

Taking responsibility and apologizing shows Allen’s true character off the court and that deserves to be recognized.

Previous Duke basketball stars like Laettner and Redick fed off the public’s hate, but Allen is not wired that way and appears uncomfortable filling that role.

While Laettner would address the media after an incident with no regret, he would sit up straight and look everyone in the eye.

Allen is the opposite. He sits hunched over and so quiet,  his voice barely audible.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said this proved how he was feeling and how much he was hurting.

“I mean, look at him. He’s just a kid,” he said.

Allen held back tears in the locker room and confessed his selfishness and embarrassment to the media.

“I made a really bad play. I’m sorry to Santa Ana, sorry to the officials who have to call that, sorry to the team because it’s selfish and taking away from them. I’m not proud of it at all,” said Allen.

After his last incident in 2017, Allen has mostly been quiet on the court regarding dirty play and seems to have learned his lesson.

 

He served his punishment

After tough consideration from Coach K, Allen was suspended for the conference opener against Virginia Tech last season.

Krzyzewski, a West Point graduate, has coached at Duke since 1980 and has continued to show great respect and authority throughout his career.

Krzyzewski takes interest in all of his players and expects nothing but excellence from every single one, spending a tremendous amount of time with his players .

While many  believed Allen should have been suspended for more than one game, Coach K defended his decision.

“I’m a teacher and a coach. And I’m responsible for that kid, so I know him better than anybody,” he said. “So to think that it’s the last thing that’s said about this to him is wrong. Obviously, we will do more. It doesn’t mean you have to see it, or anybody else has to see it.”

Allen has had time to reflect and pay for his actions, and the public should trust that Coach K and the Duke basketball program handled it properly.

Krzyzewski also added that an idiotic incident like tripping is something the university would rather deal with than other crimes basketball teams must handle.

“I will tell you this, these are manageable things that happened. It’s not like he committed rape, sexual assault, robbed somebody. Those are heinous, heinous acts,” Krzyzewski said. This is a stupid thing that he did. We can get rid of stupid a lot easier than those other things” he said.

 

It’s fueled by general hatred of Duke

We could’ve predicted this before Allen even enrolled at Duke.

It seems kids learn to hate Duke around the same time they’re taught their multiplication tables.

Allen began as the stereotypical successful guard that the country inevitably compared to Laettner and Redick.
Although he took this to another level, it is easy to say that he has had a target on his back since day one.

This overwhelming pressure and ridicule got to Allen and triggered his worst trait – gritty competitiveness.

For anyone, let alone a young adult, not used to having his every move documented, it is hard to adapt to being under a microscope.

At the end of the day, Allen is not just a Duke competitor, he is a college student with friends, family and a team.  

Let’s not blame Allen. There will always be fans that hate Duke no matter the season, player, or circumstance.

 

That was last year

Allen seems to be putting this chapter behind him, and so should we.

The two-year controversial “monster” has stepped up his senior year to be the leader for this season’s young team.

Little has been seen of Allen in the media this season, and I am sure no one is happier about this than Allen himself.

Allen seems to have been reconstructed in the eyes of the public this season thanks to his composure on the court, similarly to how he carried himself his freshman year.

Not only is his demeanor different but freshman Marvin Bagley III has taken over much of Allen’s previous offensive responsibility, which took a tremendous amount of pressure off Allen.

Allen has continuously stepped up to his potential and still averages 15.2 points, 4.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals.  

This season Allen even had a career high of 37 points against Michigan State in the Champions Classic tournament.

Allen can’t completely erase his image, but he can show fans the real Grayson Allen by remaining out of the spotlight and asserting himself as a leader of this team.

He  may even be a 30 for 30 on ESPN one day, a sequel to Christian Laettner’s, called “I Hate Grayson Allen.”

Allen’s “tripping legacy” may never be forgotten, but hopefully he can be forgiven.

It’s time.

 

by Emma Fields

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