Duke’s Grayson Allen has seemingly taken a page from the book of Christian Laettner (and J.J. Redick and Bobby Hurley and Mike Dunleavy and John Scheyer and Greg Paulus and Steve Wojciechowski and…) to become the latest (white) Blue Devils star to turn into a national villain. Not all of them deserved the moniker, but Allen is proving he totally does.
The sophomore has put up an excellent 2015-16 campaign, averaging 20.6 points, including 18 last night against Florida State, but yet another tripping incident has propelled him into one of the most hated athletes in the country.
Allen tripped an opposing player again last night, this time lifting up his hind leg to trip FSU’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes near the end of the Blue Devils 80-65 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 26, 2016
The play makes it easy to see why Allen’s name has become synonymous with hatred, as he clearly intentionally trips Rathan-Mayes, despite not being anywhere near game-action. It was just earlier this month when Allen got a Flagrant-1 for tripping Louisville’s Raymond Spalding.
Allen’s said he tripped Rathan-Mayes because they were tussling and the two ended up “tangling up and falling.”
“He wanted to keep playing physical,” Allen said, according to the Fayetteville Observer. “So I tried to walk away from it as he was grabbing me. We ended up tangling up and falling. It was really nothing.”
Allen also said other teams are trying to get physical with him (and teammate Brandon Ingram) and he has to respond by equalling that physicality.
“That’s how it’s been and that’s what people think our weaknesses are,” Allen said. “So for me and Brandon, we have to be strong and really tough physically and mentally each night, knowing that we are going to get those blows.”
While it’s clear Allen is being played physically by defenders and it’s understandable he might want to respond the same way, to make excuses for blatantly tripping players is pure basketball evil. We’re watching Allen’s supervillain origins unfold, and if comics have taught us anything, he’s only going to dial up the wickedness.