Duke indefinitely suspends Grayson Allen after latest tripping incident: things to know
Duke takes action after the junior guard tripped somebody again Wednesday night
Duke's Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Thursday morning that junior guard Grayson Allen has been indefinitely suspended after tripping a player Wednesday night during the Blue Devils 72-61 win over Elon.
This is the third time Allen has tripped an opponent.
"We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen," Krzyzewski said. "As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to [Elon's] Steven Santa and coach Matt Matheny. As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time."
Allen was the CBS Sports Preseason National Player of the Year.
Duke's next game is New Year's Eve at Virginia Tech.
The Blue Devils are 12-1.
Here are three things to know about Allen's suspension:
1. Allen will miss at least one game
Duke announced an "indefinite" suspension -- which could obviously mean zero games or 10 games or whatever; the Blue Devils don't play again for nine days. But Coach K isn't dumb. He has to be aware of the criticism aimed his direction after he was somewhat defiant in Wednesday's press conference, and he must know that bringing Allen back before the next game will be mocked mercilessly. So I'll personally be shocked if Allen plays at Virginia Tech. After that, who knows? But go ahead and book it. Allen will miss at least one game.
2. The suspension could actually cost Duke an ACC title
The Blue Devils are so talented that there's a better-than-good chance they'll overcome this, as a team, same way they overcame the early injury problems that sidelined Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marques Bolden. On the other hand, Virginia Tech is rock-solid. Buzz Williams' Hokies are 10-1 and on a six-game winning streak. So they're capable of beating Duke in Blacksburg, with or without Allen. And considering KenPom currently projects the Blue Devils to finish in a four-way tie for first in the ACC with North Carolina, Virginia and Louisville, one loss without the team's second-best scorer could cost Duke an ACC title.
3. Coach K could've handled this better Wednesday night
Krzyzewski was, like I mentioned, somewhat defiant in Wednesday's postgame press conference while explaining he had no intention of punishing Allen just to satisfy everybody else's desires, and I totally get where he was coming from. But, yeah, it would've been better if he'd simply said, "Listen, I know this is a big story. But I haven't yet seen the video or had a chance to talk with Grayson. So let me get out of here, go see him, and then I'll talk to you about it tomorrow. I don't want to say anything too in depth, or make any grand announcements, until after I've seen what happened and spoken with Grayson. And I appreciate you understanding."
That kind of comment would've served him well.
Everybody would've understood.
Because that's the truth, by the way. While we were all watching the trip on an endless loop on Twitter or TV, Krzyzewski didn't really see it when it happened or properly grasp the national conversation that was taking place in response. He could've said that and bought himself some time. But Krzyzewski instead took a position of defiance, and that just invited critics and columnists to go at him and demand he do something that he ended up doing Thursday morning anyway, i.e., suspend Allen for his on-court behavior.
In the end, no big deal.
K is K and he'll be all right.
But there's probably a lesson in there for younger or different coaches, and that lesson is this: when publicly speaking about a big thing immediately after a big thing happens, don't get testy. Simply explain that everything is on the table and that you'll address it soon but not right now. Most reasonable people will nod along. And it just makes everything so much simpler for everybody.
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