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With Grayson Allen, we have a bad pattern to nip in the bud

December 22, 2016 Columns No Comments

Once was bad enough. Twice was a real problem. And for Grayson Allen, it should be three strikes and you’re out – a game or more, that is.

And to think, Allen had talked about being more grown up amd was doing things that could really change his image, too.

Allen was at it again on Wednesday night, deliberately tripping an opponent. It was bad enough that he reacted as if he was the victim of an offensive foul right as the whistle blew, but when he was called for a technical foul for it, he flipped out, an incredible response. But he had only himself to blame for it and no one else. The game flew under the national radar with a great rivalry game on the docket, but this action brought it more to the forefront.

Thus far this season, Allen had been a rock for a Duke team that was hit hard by injuries early on. Three of their highly-touted freshmen were injured before they played a single game, so the Blue Devils were frequently under-manned relatively speaking. (They still brought out a lineup with a lot more talent than probably 95 percent of Division I teams.) Allen was battling a toe injury and it showed, but he played through it. He was a gamer, and made his share of key plays.

After getting some rest, he was terrific when the Blue Devils mahandled UNLV. That gave you reason to believe he was getting healthy, and that even better things were ahead for him even as the Blue Devils started to get healthy.

While it might have been too soon to call him a new man, Allen was certainly letting his play stand out over this actions. That was a big step in the right direction for a guy who’s plenty talented and a terrific competitor. It made him seem at least sincere when he appeared remorseful for the prior occurrences, both as they happened last season and when he talked to ESPN about being more grown up. Now, it seems there wasn’t the least bit of sincerity there, and frankly we have no reason to believe there was any sincerity to his comments about the situation after Wednesday night’s game.

Being a competitor is great, and Allen certainly is one, but a player can’t let his competitiveness and/or emotions get the best of him. Allen has now done that three times, and at some point it will cost his team big if it keeps happening. Actually, it should happen now.

It’s one thing to get a slap on the wrist for doing this once, or even a second time as was the case. There was a bit of controversy with Allen not getting a suspension of any sort, either from Duke or the ACC, after the second incident, but it’s far from the ultimate travesty. For nothing to happen on a third offense, however, would be inexcusable, especially after he eventually went back into Wednesday night’s game after the incident happened.

When questioned about this after Wednesday night’s game, Mike Krzyzewski sounded like he wanted to waive away others’ opinions on the matter.

“I handle things the way I handle them,” Krzyzewski said. “And I think I’ve handled this correctly, and I will continue to handle it correctly, and I don’t need to satisfy what other people think I should do.”

While this comment didn’t go over well with many, there is nothing wrong with it. All of us in the media have our opinions, as do fans, of what should happen. In the end, it’s up to Krzyzewski, as well as his athletic director and the ACC office, as to what happens. In other words, he is technically correct, and there’s a degree to which you can understand him not wanting to go into detail on that right at that moment. The game had just ended, so if disciplinary action is coming, it will surely come after some thought, not just on a spur of the moment thought.

The nature of the world nowadays, with information available so readily, is that before anything can be done beyond something in-game, there is the chance for public pressure to mount for something to be done. If Allen is suspended, the many voices saying this should happen probably had nothing at all to do with the decision.

With all of that said, however, the reality remains that this is Allen’s third offense. Thus far he has received a slap on the wrist, and it hasn’t worked. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing and expecting a different result; no matter what you think of Krzyzewski, you probably realize he is a sane man. And if nothing happens coming out of this, don’t be surprised if we find ourselves talking about Grayson Allen doing this a fourth time, and maybe more.

Because at this point, what we have is far from an isolated incident. It is a pattern, and not a good one, especially for someone who appeared to be in the process of repairing his image.

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