I Don’t Hate Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen is villain college basketball deserves, but not the villain college basketball needs right now. He’s the perfect embodiment of what college basketball fans love to hate. He’s the latest and greatest dominant white basketball player for Duke University that hits deep threes, dunks in people’s faces, and shamelessly trips anybody that gets in his way. He has a high motor and wears his emotions on his sleeves, which easily makes him new public enemy #1.

Christian Laettner. JJ Redick. Steve Wojchiechowski. Kyle Singler. The next Plumlee brother. Grayson Allen.

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Duke always has and always will have that one player that pisses everybody off with their hustle plays, mechanics, and punchable faces. But Grayson Allen is in a league of his own. He plays basketball with a prison yard ‘call your own foul’ mentality that would make Wesley Snipes proud.

Grayson Allen became a household name in the Final Four of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. I  still remember exactly where I was when he followed up his own miss with a ferocious dunk. I Google’d him faster than you can say, “Laettner” and suddenly, I had a new favorite college basketball player. This is where the legend began:

After breaking out in the NCAA Tournament, Grayson came out of the gates hot in the 2015-2016 season. He finished with 21.6 PPG, a 7:4 turnover ratio, and a 3-point percentage of 41.7% as a sophomore. However, February of 2016 brought out the dark side of Grayson.

There is no doubt in my mind that those trips were on purpose, and his attempts to conceal his intentions rival Jameis Winston for worst cover-up of all time:

That all being said, I LOVE Grayson Allen’s tripping antics. And quite frankly, you’re tripping if you don’t. The game of basketball, and sports in general, need new villains. Kobe Bryant is gone, Alex Rodriguez is gone, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Vick, all gone. Ron Artest has a new name and hasn’t punched a fan in over a decade. Professional sports need new bad guys, and Grayson Allen is leading the charge. His most recent episode on Wednesday night was his best to date:

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Even Draymond Green said that that was super blatant.

However, the discussion about this specific incident is about Allen’s antics on the bench afterwards.

That’s a strong reaction after a pretty blatant trip in the first half of an out of conference basketball game in December. BUT, it’s electric. I need more animosity. I need tears. I need anger. I need blood. Grayson Allen is an absolute madman and he has come at the perfect time.

I want my players to be crazy, I want them to teeter on the edge of sanity when they’re playing their respective sport. That’s why I love DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins put on a clinic of his own on Wednesday night:

Some of the most electric, fascinating, and skilled NBA players have been head cases. On any given night, a 76er fan had no idea if Allen Iverson would even show up to the game. Rasheed Wallace would yell obscenities on the court and threaten referees in the parking lot after games. Gilbert Arenas kept four guns in his locker and even pulled one on a teammate. Ron Artest throws hands and elbows at anybody that crosses his path. Hell, Dennis Rodman had a new hair color every game and now is buddy buddy with Kim Jong-un.

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Now, Grayson Allen’s antics are nowhere near what the aforementioned NBA stars managed to do in their careers. Grayson tweets Biblical verses more than anything else, and has had no off the court issues in his Duke career. He’s a hard worker that has elevated his game every year to new heights. I think that his on the court antics rival those of J.R. Smith, who essentially is harmless but had a stint of untying the shoes of his opponents at the free throw line. His skill set rivals that of J.R., as well. People forget that J.R. was a high-flying dunker in his day that could also catch fire from behind the arc. I get scolded when I compare Grayson Allen to Ray Allen, so I’ll keep it at J.R. Smith for now.

But for real, Grayson can ball.

 

As for his suspension.

After being caught three times in 10 months tripping another player, Coach K had to do something. I’m pretty sure that “an indefinite amount of time” means until conference play begins. However, Grayson Allen is a 21-year old college student that has never gotten into any off court trouble. With some of the heinous acts college athletes are committing across the country (see Joe Mixon, see University of Minnesota’s football team), this should be a non-story. But, Duke always needs a villain, so people are eating this up. It’s fun having a bad boy back in sports, and I think that Grayson Allen will be around for a long time.

Let the kid play, Coach K. I don’t hate Grayson Allen.