Duke Basketball: Looking Back at the Career of Grayson Allen

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 09: Grayson Allen
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 09: Grayson Allen /

Grayson Allen came onto Duke’s campus as a part of the number one ranked recruiting class according to 247 Sports.

This is class featured Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, and Tyus Jones. Allen was the forgotten man in this recruiting class until he exploded on the scene during the tournament.

After that season, three of out of four of those Duke Freshman declared for the NBA Draft, but Grayson stuck around.

This was a peculiar decision for most people. Grayson was a projected lottery pick and turned down a multi-million dollar contract to come back to Cameron.

Allen was left with a depleted roster, despite Coach K’s best efforts to replenish the talent. Is his sophomore season Allen lead a Duke Blue Devil’s roster in scoring that featured two lottery picks (Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard). During this season it almost became clear that Grayson Allen was the new Golden Boy of the greatest college basketball program ever. That he would submit his name in infamy along with Christian Laettner and JJ Redick.

Unfortunately, when you become the best player that plays for the best program people love to hate you. During his sophomore season, Grayson got caught up in the still talked about by Blue Devil Haters, “tripping incident”. Most people reading this are probably die-hard Duke fans and want to hear nothing about it.

However, I feel this topic is necessary to talk about when you speak of Grayson Allen. Grayson’s incidents aren’t a result of him being a dirty player or bad person. They were a result of the ginormous amount of pressure put on these kids who aren’t even old enough to legally drink a beer. When you’re under this spotlight at such a young age it’s completely unrealistic to think anybody is going to always do the right thing.

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Nobody goes through their life without having to overcome obstacles.

I’ve been through plenty, and most people have as well. Very few people ever live a perfect life. Some people would argue that a perfect life is completely impossible. So, I will never once believe that Allen’s incidents his sophomore year were a lack of character or being a “dirty player”. These incidents were a lapse in judgment by a young kid and are something that every young kid goes through.

These lapses of judgment led the public eye to eat him alive. The worst thing about that was Grayson enjoyed a tremendous sophomore season. He averaged 21.6 points and shot 46 percent from the field and from 3 point range. Once again Allen could’ve been drafted probably in the mid to late first round, but elected to stay with the Blue Devils.

His junior year Duke came in with another star-studded recruiting class that featured 3 NBA Draft Picks (Frank Jackson, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum), and the return of Luke Kennard.  During this season Allen began to go through a slump. The pressure of being public enemy number one in college basketball was getting to him, but it’d be impossible to blame him. The Blue Devils ended up losing to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and it ended a very disappointing season for fans.

Now, the cycle has come full circle to Grayson Allen’s senior season. Where he has matured and grown into a fabulous leader on a top team. Duke once again came in with a slew of McDonald’s All Americans, but Allen still has the spotlight on him. He has enjoyed a great season being second on the team in scoring, assists, and shoots 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from three.

Grayson Allen has set himself apart and has made him stand out like no player maybe ever will again in college basketball. The influx and pressure all these McDonald’s All Americans have now to become pros almost all of them are one and done’s. Certainly, none of them stay until their senior season. Out of the players in the McDonald’s All American game in 2014, only 4 are still playing in college. Those players are Joel Berry, Thomas Welsh, Reid Travis, and Allen.

None of these players ever faced the scrutiny that Allen had from being Duke’s golden boy. None of them got criticized and ripped apart by reporters and student sections every night like Grayson has. In fact, Buzz Williams, the Virginia Tech coach, had to grab a microphone in the middle of the Duke’s game this week and tell his student section not to curse at Grayson.

Despite all of the negativity and praise about Grayson Allen’s highly controversial career, it’s not over yet. In fact, it’s far from over.

Grayson is heading into March for the fourth time in his career and has his eyes set on his national championship.

With all the talent of this year’s team, Duke should be one of the favorites to win it all, and Grayson Allen could come full circle, and into the spotlight exactly where he was his sophomore year.

Duke Basketball will forever be synonymous with great college basketball players like Laetenner, Reddick, Jay Williams, Grant Hill, Kyle Singler, and many more. However, Grayson Allen could be the last great four year player at a high-level program. The end of Grayson’s senior season could mark an end of an era for college basketball.

Thank you, Grayson, for the amazing journey over the past four years. Thank you for sticking around when nobody else probably ever will. Lastly, thank you, Grayson Allen, for becoming the leader of this stellar Duke team.