Allen scored 1,996 points in his career, but Duke needed just a few more in order to finish that four-year run back where it started in the Final Four. Allen went 3-for-13 from the field on Sunday in the 85-81 overtime loss, missing the mark on a pair of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds of extra time.
Nothing was falling -- the look Allen had at the end of regulation to win the game looked like it almost dropped in the basket twice only to fall off the rim.
Grayson Allen was SO close to punching Duke's ticket to the Final Four. pic.twitter.com/RsInlOSVj7— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 26, 2018
It was a far different setting from when Duke won the national championship against Wisconsin in 2015,= and the game turned on a few huge minutes and a momentum-swinging hustle play from Allen -- a freshman who had only reached double digits four times before dropping 16 points in the title game.
But between those two memories were hundreds more, ones to celebrate and others that contributed to the reputation of one of the most divisive players in college basketball. Allen was a First Team All-ACC player as a sophomore in 2015-16 after that breakout moment in the title game, only to take a step back to high-level NBA Draft picks during his junior and senior seasons. Duke coaches, players and fans will always hold a special place in their hearts for Allen, who himself turned down the pros to extend his time in Durham, N.C.
"I'm so happy I made the choice to come here, I'm so happy they asked me to come here, gave me a scholarship. I've learned so much in my four years here, coming out a completely different person now for the better," Allen said after the loss to Kansas. "The relationships I've build with Coach, the coaches, some of the teammates who are guys I call my brother now. Those will last for a really long time, and those are the things I'll cherish."
But between all those memories were also, getting suspended and stripped of his captaincy last season by coach Mike Krzyzewski because of his in-game behavior and the development of a villain role that followed him in the ACC throughout his career. He also dealt with some wear and tear, struggling through injuries through much of his junior season and some of this year, as well.
"He did a great job of interacting with this young group and helped the young group grow," Krzyzewski said Sunday of his lone scholarship senior. "And I especially thought the relationship that he has with Marvin was the key for us getting as good as we were. And you're a shot away, a roll away from being in the Final Four, and so much of it has to do with their relationship and his leadership."
Allen's career will probably be best defined by the teams he was a part of at Duke. A quick and somehow incomplete list of top NBA prospects Allen played with: Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard, Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr.
Bagley, a freshman likely to be selected in the top five this year, echoed his coach's praise.
"When I got here, Grayson was the one kind of talking to me about a lot of the, about how things go around, how the workouts out, just showing me different things and just telling me his experiences that he's experienced while he was here as well," Bagley said. "And not only me -- he's been doing that to everybody. And I think that's why we built this relationship with everyone and how we got so close, especially coming into March and how we wanted to fight and try to win every single game. So Grayson was a big part of us getting this far. We try to follow him. And it hurts that we couldn't get it done for him."
Now Allen will have a chance to make his own mark at the next level alongside his former teammates. Regardless of whether he ends up reaching the projections that once had him as a potential lottery pick, Allen will always go down as an unforgettable part of Duke basketball's history in the Coach K era.