In this college basketball season, one story has pushed its way to the front pages, and it’s not your typical headline. Duke guard Grayson Allen has made an infamous name for himself through a series of tripping antics.
The story’s roots go back nearly a full calendar year. Last February, Allen tripped Louisville’s Ray Spalding midway through the second half. Allen had just missed a layup, and tripped Spalding as he grabbed the rebound and was trying to start a fast break.
Just a few weeks later, he had a repeat performance. This time, the victim was a Florida State player, Xavier Rathan-Mayes. This trip was even more shocking than the first. It can with less than five seconds remaining in the game, and Duke was winning by 15. The play had no impact on the result of the game, but he felt the need to trip Rathan-Mayes as he went by.
This season, Allen is already back at it. At another time when it was entirely unnecessary, he tripped Elon’s Steven Santa Ana. Elon is a small school opponent, the type of opponent that Duke typically rolls through easily.
Allen has received very little punishment for these incidents. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzweski suspended Allen “indefinitely” after the incident against Santa Ann, and removed him from his co-captain position on the team. However, Allen was reinstated to the team after missing just one game. Duke lost that game to Virginia Tech, and in the next game against Georgia Tech Allen was back in the starting lineup.
He has also been involved in other questionable incidents. When falling into the opposing bench trying to get a loose ball against Florida State, he pushed over an assistant coach as he tried to regain his balance. Players fall into the bench or the front row chasing balls plenty of the time. Rarely, though, do they push the person they braced themselves against. Additionally, he has gotten into scuffles with opposing teams as he walks past their benches multiple times this season.
Where are the ACC and the NCAA, and when are they going to step in? All of these tripping incidents have been obviously intentional, and nothing seems to have stopped Allen yet. A similar situation in recent years that comes to mind is when Marcus Smart pushed a fan against Texas Tech. When that happened, Oklahoma State suspended him for three games, and the Big 12 released a statement saying that they were also looking into the incident and another statement saying they approved of the punishment handed down by Oklahoma State. Now, it is important to note that Smart’s incident involved a fan, which is a slightly different level than a player-to-player incident. The repetitive nature of Allen’s actions, though, warrant a response equal to that level.
Allen has quickly become one of college basketball’s most hated players, and there is no end to his antics in the foreseeable future. Hated players are not new to the Duke program. Does something in that environment contribute to this kind of behavior? Whatever the cause, someone needs to step in before Allen can continue his dangerous play and hurt someone.