When Grayson Allen stuck out his leg and half-kicked, half-tripped Elon’s Steven Santa Ana during Wednesday night’s contest, a lot of emotions crossed my mind.
One that did not enter my consciousness was complete and utter surprise. Because we’ve seen this from Allen before. Twice, in fact. Add Wednesday’s incident to the mix, and we’re talking THREE separate tripping incidents in the calendar year that ends next Saturday.
Above all else, I was angry that Allen would choose to act in such a disturbing manner again. But apparently I wasn’t nearly as steamed as Allen, who threw a tantrum of nursery school proportion on the sidelines after being hit with a technical and a benching from Coach K.
The trip was certainly problematic, and I was pleasantly surprised to wake up Thursday morning and see that Allen had been indefinitely suspended by Coach Kyrzyzewski for his repeated offenses. However, what was more concerning was the way Allen conducted himself on the sideline after being taken out. Here was this 21-year old kid, sweating profusely and crying. During this holiday season, his facial forecast was not unlike what we saw in the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story,” when Ralphie Parker literally almost shoots his eye out with his prized BB gun.
I don’t want to speak for Allen, or anyone associated with the Duke basketball program. But there appears to be something else going on with Allen that we might not know about. It seems to be a bit of anger management, coupled with an inability to mature and play the game with the integrity it deserves and demands. This is why his suspension could end up being just what the doctor ordered for Allen, an uber-talented guard that is sure to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The time spent away from the court will force Allen to take a good long look at himself, and assess why he’s not out there fighting with his brothers. It also might free up time for him to seek counseling, because if Wednesday night was any indication, the situation is more than just about playing fairly.
Grayson Allen is probably one of the five most talented men’s basketball players in the nation. He’s got a high ceiling, and whatever NBA team that snatches him in June is likely going to get their money’s worth. However, Allen owes it to himself, Duke, and his future NBA landing spot to improve himself mentally.
Antics like tripping have no place in the sport of basketball, or any sport at any level. It won’t be tolerated in the NCAA, and if Allen ever tries to stick his leg out in front of a respected NBA veteran, he’s going to wish he hadn’t.