Duke went into South Bend on Monday night and pushed the Fighting Irish around during an 84-74 victory. Grayson Allen was fantastic –scoring 21 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists.
But because his reputation requires a detailed breakdown of even the slightest physical confrontation, here he is the moment he became entangled with Temple Gibbs.
Even after several viewings, it’s difficult to see exactly what happened. Gibbs appears to grab Allen’s arm, and Allen reacts by stomping down. It’s unclear if this is what sent Gibbs sprawling to the floor.
Now, a month ago, I would have been falling all over myself to indict Allen for his dirty play and suggest further suspension. But, things have changed. Since returning from his timeout, Allen has done the near-impossible and earned the benefit of the doubt.
Opposing teams know that it’s been easy to get under his skin and are trying their damndest to provoke him. Thus far, he’s done quite well to turn the other cheek.
In Saturday’s game against Wake Forest, Allen picked up a technical foul for jawing with a Demon Deacon player, which isn’t great. Late in the game, however, he was able to keep his cool even as he was being tackled into the Wake bench.
A week ago, Allen was confronted by NC State’s Terry Anderson while walking to his bench for a media timeout. He didn’t freak out.
There are some who argue that Allen instigated this incident. I couldn’t disagree more. He was not the aggressor and did nothing to heighten the situation.
The Duke guard’s behavior should be lauded. Admittedly, “not tripping people” is a low standard, but Allen has met that standard. Everything his does is scrutinized in great detail, and the moment he slips up, boom, it will be plastered all over the internet.
It might be fair. But, it’s also worth nothing when he avoids such situations. Can you imagine the outcry if Allen had tackled a Wake Forest player or got all chesty with an NC State player? At a certain point, one has to give credit where credit is due.
It would be fantastic if Allen’s hotheadedness were in the rearview mirror for good. He’s finally acting like a guy who gets it.
Better late than never.