Allen’s an­tics trip up Duke

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY JOEDY MCCREARY

Grayson Allen’s lat­est an­tics may have once again tripped up No. 5 Duke.

The Blue Devils have had a full ros­ter for about three days this sea­son. And af­ter Allen tripped yet an­other op­po­nent, it’s not clear when they’ll have a com­plete lineup again.

Allen was sus­pended in­def­i­nitely from the team Thurs­day af­ter the pre­sea­son AP All-Amer­i­can tripped an Elon player — the third time he has been in­volved in a trip­ping in­ci­dent this cal­en­dar year.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski ex­plained the sus­pen­sion in a brief state­ment, say­ing the pro­gram “needed to take fur­ther steps re­gard­ing his ac­tions that do not meet the stan­dards of Duke basketball.”

At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence Com­mis­sioner John Swof­ford sup­ports the move, say­ing in his own state­ment that sports­man­ship is “one of the core val­ues

of our league” and that the sus­pen­sion “demon­strates ad­her­ence to this im­por­tant prin­ci­ple.”

The grow­ing con­cern is that Allen con­tin­ues to re­peat what the school and con­fer­ence deems un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior.

Allen tripped op­pos­ing play­ers from Louisville and Florida State last win­ter.

Allen is com­pet­i­tive player, and ESPN an­a­lyst and for­mer Wake For­est coach Dino Gau­dio won­ders if the trip­ping in­ci­dents are re­ac­tionary, but notes the be­hav­ior has to stop.

“I re­ally think the kid is gen­uinely sorry for what he did and he’s dis­ap­pointed in him­self,” Gau­dio said. “I think it’s al­most, when (Allen) gets frus­trated, that’s the way he re­acts — he lashes out like that with trip­ping, and maybe Mike com­pletely gets his at­ten­tion and breaks him of it . ... Hope­fully this stops it in the short term.”

Krzyzewski has not de­cided whether Allen will prac­tice dur­ing his sus­pen­sion or how long it will last.

Duke doesn’t play again un­til Dec. 31, when the Blue Devils visit Vir­ginia Tech (10-1) in their ACC opener. Af­ter that are home games against two lower-tier ACC teams — Ge­or­gia Tech on Jan. 4, Bos­ton Col­lege three days later — be­fore a trip to No. 21 Florida State on Jan. 10.

“It’s not like you give a sus­pen­sion and it’s all over,” Krzyzewski said Thurs­day on “The Dan Pa­trick Show.” ‘’It’s a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and I’m go­ing to use it as that and as a teach­ing mo­ment. A teach­ing mo­ment does not stop by giv­ing one game. Maybe that’s what it is. I don’t know that right now.

“Maybe it’s three (games), maybe it’s two weeks, but he won’t play un­til I feel good about the en­tire sit­u­a­tion where he is at.”

Allen’s an­tics are the lat­est twist in an al­ready drama-filled sea­son for Duke, which was picked No. 1 in the pre­sea­son be­cause of a star-packed lineup that was pro­jected to in­clude Allen and four im­me­di­ate-im­pact fresh­men.

So far they’ve all been avail­able at the same time for less than a week.

Fresh­man for­wards Jayson Ta­tum (foot), Mar­ques Bolden (lower leg) and Harry Giles (knee) weren’t healthy at the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son, with Ta­tum and Bolden fi­nally play­ing Dec. 3 against Maine and Giles mak­ing his long-awaited de­but against Ten­nessee State on Mon­day night — about 48 hours be­fore Allen’s lat­est trip­ping in­ci­dent.

Allen is the team’s No. 2 scorer, av­er­ag­ing 16 points, but the Blue Devils have played with­out him be­fore — he sat out the Maine game with a nag­ging toe in­jury. Now with Allen out again, Duke will need sopho­more Luke Ken­nard to con­tinue his im­pres­sive play. Ken­nard has scored at least 20 points in five of his last six games.

“There’s no ques­tion that it im­pacts the pro­gram,” Gau­dio said. “There’s no ques­tion it’s a bump in the road, but I think ... with the other guys, ev­ery­body was say­ing, ‘How’s Mike go­ing to put all these pieces to­gether?’ and ‘All these kids are so tal­ented.’

“If Mike fig­ured out a way to man­age those play­ers (on the U.S. Olym­pic team) with those egos and won a gold medal, he’ll figure out manag­ing these young fresh­men com­ing in.”

Allen’s sit­u­a­tion also is an un­usual dis­trac­tion for the Blue Devils, who must deal with the rare sus­pen­sion of a team­mate. The list of Duke play­ers pub­licly dis­ci­plined by the pro­gram is a short one that in­cludes Rasheed Su­lai­mon, who in 2014-15 be­came the first player kicked off a Krzyzewski-coached Duke team.

Those Blue Devils re­grouped and months later won the pro­gram’s fifth na­tional ti­tle — of course with­out Su­lai­mon.

How Duke re­sponds this time is un­clear, but what­ever hap­pens Gau­dio said Krzyzewski “ab­so­lutely did the right thing” by wait­ing a short while be­fore de­cid­ing to sus­pend Allen.

“There’s such a rush to judg­ment, I think the sec­ond that it hap­pened, peo­ple want Grayson Allen thrown off the team and that’s not how it works,” Gau­dio said. “I trust Mike Krzyzewski. I think he’s earned that trust from the peo­ple at Duke . ... Let him look at it and make the de­ci­sion.”


Duke’s Grayson Allen was sus­pended in­def­i­nitely on Thurs­day af­ter trip­ping Elon’s Steven Santa Ana on Wed­nes­day.

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