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With last night’s overtime win for the Kansas Jayhawks, the Grayson Allen era of college basketball officially came to an end. He was just a couple of inches away from sending Duke to the Final Four, I mean, the ball literally touched every part of the rim.
But from inventing the butt-trip, to winning a National Championship, Allen’s time at Duke really encompassed it all. It was never boring when No. 3 was on the court, and he fit perfectly into the stereotypical hated Duke player mold and often times brought back memories of Christian Laettner.
It may be too early to admit, but whether you loved him or hated him, you’re going to miss Grayson Allen.
Allen was a 2,000-point scorer, a leader on the floor and also had a big part in helping Duke secure a National Championship in his freshman year. He was a great shooter and also an explosive athlete, throwing down some of the most memorable dunks college basketball has seen in the past four years.
It’s not hard to see why people would love Allen. He didn’t get much playing time in his freshman year and only averaged 4.4 points per game, but he started becoming an important player towards the end of the season and was the spark plug in the National Championship win over Wisconsin.
Allen’s sophomore year was where he really exploded. While Brandon Ingram was supposed to be the best player on the team, the truth was that Allen was the go-to guy. He averaged 21.6 points per game and shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc in a season where he truly was one of the best players in college basketball.
Probably the biggest reason that fans loved Allen is that he stayed all four years.
After his dominant sophomore year, most thought that he was going to leave for the NBA. Allen was a projected first round pick and several NBA scouts urged him to declare since it would be hard to replicate the season he just had. Allen decided to stay though, something we don’t see enough of in college basketball today.
Going into his junior season, Allen was the favorite to win the Naismith Trophy.
What Allen is most likely to be remembered for are his trips and his tantrums.
There were many questionable instances of unsportsmanlike plays in his sophomore season, but his junior year is really where things went south.
In a neutral site game against Elon in Greensboro, Allen lost his cool and committed the most infamous play of his career.
As he got to the bench after the foul call, he exploded, screaming and slapping the chairs and had to be calmed down. As he explains later, he was upset because he knew that this instance was going to create a media circus, and wow was he right.
That entire night was very confusing. After the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski delayed his team's postgame interviews and brought Allen into the coach’s room for a meeting. Apparently tears were shed by both.
Coach K then brought in the opposing coach and player who Allen tripped for another meeting.
Thirty minutes later, Allen was made available to talk to the media.
Coach K decided to suspend Allen “indefinitely” following the incident, but that lasted just one game, which led to national scrutiny.
What was interesting about Allen and his time at Duke is that he would sometimes poke fun at his infamous reputation, but other times would have episodes like he did against Elon where all he wanted to do was take back his actions. He wasn’t a true Laettner villain who thrived off of making people upset, he had mixed feelings about it.
Allen stumbled through his junior season, averaging just 14.5 points per game, a career-high 2.2 turnovers a game and a career-low field goal percentage of 36 percent to go along with it. His antics continued as well.
Allen had a decent senior year. He wasn't sophomore Grayson, but he was still a leader for the Blue Devils. He couldn’t leave college basketball however without just one more controversy, and he outdid himself with the invention of the butt-trip.
Even if you absolutely hate Allen, you’re going to miss him. You're going to miss arguing about his flagrant fouls with your friends who like Duke and watching games just hoping that he would screw up.
Even though the one-and-done days may be coming to an end, Allen feels like the last of a dying breed. When’s the next time Duke is going to have a kid who is good and stays and plays for all four years?
It seems like the days of J.J. Redick, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Ryan Kelly are over.
Next year, Duke is going to be loaded with five-star, one-and-done guys who are going to be really good. There are no more established, choir-boy-looking kids who are going to go out there and be Duke's ordained villain.
Hating Duke is not much fun when there is no polarizing player to hate, so Grayson, thanks for playing the part.