Duke Basketball: Senior Night A Chance For Allen To Right Seasons Wrongs

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 09: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels speaks to Grayson Allen
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 09: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels speaks to Grayson Allen /

It’s senior night for Grayson Allen. It’s Duke-North Carolina in Cameron. It’s the greatest rivalry in college basketball. There’s a lot to look forward to tonight but for Grayson Allen, it’s a chance to send his final regular season off on a positive note.

Coming into the season, the expectation was that Grayson Allen was going to be the senior leader. The guy who when the chips were down, backs against the wall, would come through for a freshman dominant team. Instead it has mostly been the opposite.

Throughout the season, Allen has shown a hesitance to take over a game when the Blue Devils need it most. In many instances, Allen has given up open shots not to drive to the bucket but to make an extra pass. Thats’ fine when it’s the right play but instead it has lead to a more stagnant offense. The hustle plays that have given the “most hated player in college basketball” title have come in spurts instead of in droves like they have in past seasons. He looks more tentative than ever this season. I’m not sure whether we can attribute that to the talent surrounding him, Coach K giving him orders (highly unlikely) or just a personal change in his game.

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Whatever the reason is, it has to end. This particular Duke team doesn’t have a guy outside of Allen who can go get you a bucket. Marvin Bagley III is the closest to it but teams are starting to figure out how to defend the Bag man. They’re doubling him more. They’re sagging on pick and rolls so he’s not open. The high low with Bagley and Wendell Carter works more times than not but for some reason, Duke has gone away from that. Gary Trent Jr. is good for a couple threes but when has he hit a big, meaningful shot in a tight situation? Trevon Duval is all over the place as a player.

When push comes to shove, Allen has to get back in that take over mode. He’s a smart enough player to know when that needs to come and not go into that mode at the wrong times. He has the awareness to know when its Grayson time. It’s not a matter of if he has it, the matter is executing it.

Tonight against North Carolina should be a coming out party. Think 2015 National Championship game on a slight amount of steroids. This is his night against the most hated rival in his building. If there’s any night to kick start his play, it would be tonight. He needs to give Duke what it needs most heading into postseason play: that killer mentality.

Now lets go get us a dub against the Tar Heels.