It's simply astounding that Grayson Allen cannot go one freaking game without having some sort of physical altercation with a player that requires further video deconstruction. Every game, folks. Every. Damn. Game.
During Duke's 78-69 loss at Louisville on Saturday Allen was on the opposite end of things. He was hit twice in the face after getting his arm tangled up with Louisville's Donovan Mitchell.
Now Mitchell and his coach, Rick Pitino, are standing up for Allen. Allen was continually booed whenever he touched the ball, something that's likely to continue for the forseeable future in every road game Duke plays. Pitino didn't only speak of the incident with Mitchell, but actually went out of his way to defend Allen's tripping incidents.
"I happen to think (the times Allen has tripped opponents), it's a reflex action like someone throwing an elbow," Pitino said. "He's a highly, highly intelligent young man. So why would you do it? I think he's a terrific young man who made a mistake, and you know, he made three of them. But I think it's a reflex action when he does something wrong; he'll lunge out or he'll trip somebody. But he's a good person. I know he's a good person. I checked it out."
Krzyzewski, who missed the Louisville game while recovering from back surgery, has been criticized for going too easy on Allen - arguably Duke's best player - with only the one-game suspension. But Pitino said Krzyzewski's punishment was sufficient.
"You know, a lot of people question Coach K, and Mike doesn't need to win any more games," Pitino said. "The bottom line is (Krzyzewski) is a West Point grad who over-disciplines. Everybody always says, '(Allen) only sat one game.' You can bury a young man. I mean you see how everyone treats him on the road. You got that (last game) at Florida State. You can bury a young man (with a punishment), so this is all about preserving a young man. ... Believe me, that kid's paying the price in different ways. You hear the crowds everywhere he goes. They bury him."
That's certainly an unexpected statement from Pitino. Nobody was actually defending Allen's penchant for tripping, not even Duke coaches or fans, and here comes an opposing coach who's trying to logically defend the indefensible.
As for the booing, Mitchell said his home crowd doing that was "a little bit much." He also apologized to Allen for connecting his hand with Allen's face.
"At the end of the day, he's a kid, and you kind of feel for that," Mitchell told the Courier-Journal. "I don't think any parents want to see their kid getting chanted against like that, but it's the heat of the game, and in order to be professional, you're going to have to go through that. And I think he didn't let any of that get to his head obviously. He had 23 points, and he's a good player. I have a lot of respect for him."
This will be something to watch for going forward. While opposing fans have utter disdain for Allen, chances are good you'll hear his competitors, and opposing coaches, praise him for the player he is. Because despite all the stuff that's been too much of a distraction, Allen still is one of the best players in college basketball, and on Saturday, he was Duke's most consistent option.