Grayson Allen was doing okay. He managed to go a few games without tripping anyone, and he appeared to nip the emotional outbursts in the bud.
Then Saturday night happened. Allen elbowed North Carolina freshman guard Brandon Robinson in the face, as boos cascaded from the Dean Dome.
Allen, who scored 14 points in the 90-83 loss, was given a technical foul.
“It seemed like he was – I don’t even know if taking a step in the right direction is the right thing to say because you shouldn’t be doing this dumb stuff to begin with,” FoxSports.com college hoops writer Aaron Torres said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “But no, the guy threw an elbow to the face of the kid from UNC. There’s no doubt that that’s not a basketball play. There’s no doubt that he was deserving of a technical. And then the worst part is, after forearm meets face of the opponent, he does the whiplash head back as if he’s the guy that was fouled – and it’s funny because a foul was called on UNC on that play. So yeah, it’s disappointing.”
Duke, of course, suspended Allen for one game following a tripping incident against Elon in December. It was the third time in the last year that Allen had intentionally tripped an opponent.
“Look, we thought he had taken a step in the right direction,” Torres said. “He hasn’t. I think he’s one of those guys who’s a little bit dirty. He’s a lot of bit dirty. And if he didn’t play for Duke, we probably wouldn’t notice it. But he’s under a microscope and he continues to do this stuff and it’s a bad look. It was no different on Saturday against UNC.”
Allen is averaging 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists for Duke (23-8), which opens the ACC Tournament on Wednesday against the winner of Clemson (16-14) versus NC State (15-16). Tip-off is at 2 p.m. ET.