Duke lightning rod Grayson Allen is ending 2016 much like he began it: tripping people on the basketball court. After two similar events last February, Allen struck again Wednesday night against Elon, when Steven Santa Ana got by him on the baseline and, rather than concede defeat or try to catch up within the rules of the game, Allen stuck his leg out and hooked Santa Ana to the ground. He earned another technical and then immediately lost his shit.
Allen was visibly upset on the court after it and then had a full on meltdown on the bench. He tripped Santa Ana with around four minutes left in the first half and did not see the court again until 16:29 in the second. In all, he sat out about eight minutes of game time. After the game, coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "I think I've handled this correctly."
Continuing on, Coach K was sort of defiant in his words on the trip, acknowledging that what Allen did was wrong but insisted that "he's a good kid," despite these seemingly routine dirty incidents. Krzyzewski said he didn't have to satisfy the press or outsiders in his handling of the matter, but that it would be handled. On Thursday morning, he announced how he would be handling it: an indefinite suspension.
"We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night's game against Elon. As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to Steven Santa Ana 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 may be a good kid, and he certainly seemed ashamed of himself during his post-game interviews, but the elephant in the room—a white dude at Duke—is hard to ignore. Even SportsCenter, in framing this clip, was incredibly deferential to Allen: "Tough night for Grayson. I mean, this kid can really ball, but he's got a problem keeping his emotions in check, he's prone to fits of kicking. This is not something you'd expect of someone his age." Duke and Coach K are essentially basketball royalty in this country so they're going to catch a lot of breaks, but any other kid, any other program, and we're not talking about keeping emotions in check.
At least former Duke alum and ESPN commentator Jay Williams and the rest of the Halftime Report crew were not quite as generous. Rece Davis called Allen a "petulant child" and Williams voiced his disappointment in Coach K even playing him in the second half, calling for a five-game suspension and saying the trip revealed Allen's character—"and that's unfortunate."
In all, Allen scored three points in 21 minutes of play, hitting just one three-pointer (and one leg). Duke won, 72-61.