Grayson Allen, sitting on a bench in the Islanders locker room, which is Duke’s headquarters during the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament this week, insisted that he actually enjoyed the view from his courtside chair during the game.
Allen, a preseason contender for national player of the year who has become college basketball’s most controversial player, had plenty of time to watch Duke’s 79-72 win over Clemson in a second-round game at Barclays Center. He played only 12 minutes. He also scored no points and made his only impression by firing the ball downward rather than at the hoop.
The guard was assessed his conference-leading fourth technical foul of the season when he slammed the ball after having been called for his second foul in two defensive sequences. Allen acknowledged that he probably is under greater scrutiny than other players because of his history, which includes a one-game suspension for the latest in a series of tripping episodes and a technical for elbowing a North Carolina player Saturday.
He is coming off an ankle injury and played sparingly before the technical, which occurred with 4:52 remaining in the first half. Allen played even more sparingly after that (five second-half minutes). Coach Mike Krzyzewski did not term it a disciplinary benching, saying, “The fouls hurt. I think the injury is a huge part of it because he has not been able to really go after it in practice and he has lost his timing, his rhythm.”
Allen was calm later, after sophomore Luke Kennard and freshmen Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson each scored 20 points.
“I’m sitting there on the bench, watching our freshmen make huge plays down the stretch and it’s huge for me,” Allen said. “I don’t have any room to think about myself when I’m consumed in the game and watching guys make big plays. It’s awesome for me to watch a guy like Frank, who I’ve been very close with throughout the year, just thrive out there.”
As for his own situation, he said, “There’s a lot of basketball left.”