For the past three years, Grayson Allen was depicted as a poster boy for white privilege in the mind of this writer. His unsportsmanlike and dangerous antics are now a matter of public record, as was the flimsy punishment of 1 game despite being a repeat offender. I can only imagine what disparaging, disrespectful and downright racist remarks would be said about about the upbringing of a black player if he exhibited Allen’s behavior.
The above paragraph isnt meant to disparage Allen in anyway. He has nothing to do with that system, hes just the beneficiary of that line of thinking. However, after all that ruckus he raised last year, and the year prior to that, a funny thing happened to Grayson Allen.
Like a bolt from the gods, Grayson was struck right upside his head with a ton of humility. Sure, weve heard tons of commentators and apologists go on air to tell us just how great a player he is, how he is the fiery engine of the team, and how he was such a fighter, but I just didnt buy it then. Now I do.
After averaging only 4.4 points per game as a freshman in 2014-15, Grayson would explode in the NCAA tournament, ultimately earning All-Tournament honors. His tenacity, his heart and determination were on display for the entire world to see, and he was eating it up. For most of his collegiate career, Grayson has needed to play on a razors edge to push the Duke teams he was tasked with leading to victory.
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The following year, Allen would increase his scoring average by over 500 percent to 21.6 points per game. But thats when the nonsense began. I had the following to say regarding Allen in article titled Grayson Allen Is White Privilege in a Basketball Uniform after his fourth alleged tripping incident.
Indeed, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Duke provocateurs and practitioners in basketball counter-ops will be white. No black basketball player at Duke University has ever been cast in the role of villain. And, I’d bet money that is by design. Located in Durham, North Carolina, and whose student body is largely upper middle class, the pristine imagery of Duke University would likely take a hit with some young brother of African descent screaming at people, grabbing his crotch after a dunk or being the center of constant negative attention.
Yeah, I was salty at the idea of Grayson getting away with murder relative to the heavy-handed disciplinary measures that many African American players would have faced for similar acts of hooliganism. Again, Allen can only be blamed for his behavior, and not the paradigm in which he operates. After numerous incidents, he struggled to find that line between insanity and explosiveness the next season, averaging 14 points per game. He was a shell of his former self; tentative, unsure and confused as times.
Only those intimate with the situation know for sure, but it seemed like all the extra attention was getting to him. Though my sympathy is limited considering he brought much of it upon himself, I have to give the kid props for staying the course. What type of Herculean effort did it take for him to stay in school after averaging 21 plus as a sophomore? Id say lots.
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Some were projecting him to be a lottery pick as a sophomore, but he wanted to come back and win an NCAA Mens Basketball Championship for a team on which he was the leader. Well, as seasons changing is expected, so too are the pitfalls of life. The Dukies would make the NCAA tournament, but Allen would only start in 25 of those games, and even appeared to take a backseat to former sweet shooting sophomore turned lottery pick Luke Kennard, and funky freshman turned lottery pick Jayson Tatum.
With that in mind, Ive been keeping an eye on Grayson all season.
Many NBA talking heads on the cable news networks were starting to say that he lost his inner beast, that he would be lucky if he even was drafted in the first round and his past success was a fluke just last season. But this year, instead of faltering under the spotlight, Grayson Allen has kept his mouth shut, remained consistent and picked his spots to score where, in the past, he would have jumped right into the alligator pit in the painted area with reckless, some might say careless, abandon.
One final time. Grayson Allen checked out at Cameron Indoor for the final time on senior night, with a win against North Carolina. https://t.co/oud8spNuiw
As a seasoned senior, Allen is more patient, is willing to concede to underclassman with immense talent (Marvin Bagley III and Luke Kennard to name a few) and isnt running his mouth every time you turn your head.
The 6-foot-4-inch shooting guard appears to have finally gotten it. As someone who has laid into Allen more than a few times in the past, I think props are due. As anyone who has ever played scholastic team sports, can tell you it takes a confident, mature upperclassman to be able to concede shots and playmaking to a freshman or sophomore, but thats just what Grayson has done.
In honor of Senior Night… Grayson Allen will go down as a favorite player of all time for many Duke fans. This kid put his heart and soul into this program. On behalf of #DukeNation, thank you, @GraysonJAllen
Some might want to give Coach K some love as well but Coach K was also there when ol boy was running around tripping everybody. Yet, no one mentioned his teaching method as the problem. As a matter of fact, he was criticized for his leniency. So, if Coach K got 0 blame for his issues before, why should he get any accolades for Allens apparent change in attitude and behavior?
I say, since Coach K’s presence is static in this equation, that it is mostly Grayson Allens change in attitude that has made him a senior in every sense of the word. Respect.