Duke guard Grayson Allen is already drawing scrutiny following his second game since returning from a one-game suspension.
With the No. 8 Blue Devils playing Boston College on Saturday, Allen extended his right leg to get around a screen and appeared to hinder guard Connar Tava.
The ACC, in a statement to ESPN, said it wasn’t clear whether Allen’s move was intentional.
“There is nothing conclusive that can be determined,” the conference said in the statement.
No foul was called on the play, and the Blue Devils went on to win 93-82.
Allen was banned after tripping an Elon player on Dec. 21, the third such incident for the guard in the past two years. Allen was also stripped of his captaincy.
|Grayson Allen remains a magnet for controversy. (AP)|
Did Grayson Allen attempt to trip another opposing player?
If any other other player did what Grayson Allen did against Boston College on Saturday, it would have gone unnoticed.
Only because of Allen’s reputation for tripping opponents has this video clip landed the Duke star in the crosshairs once more.
As Allen guarded Boston College’s Jerome Robinson during Duke’s 93-82 victory, Eagles forward Connar Nava comes over to set a top-of-the-key ball screen. Allen stumbled forward and his left leg popped up in a manner vaguely reminiscent of his three prior tripping incidents.
Referees did not call a foul on Allen after the play, nor did ESPN’s broadcast crew even make note of it during the game. It only became a story hours later when the video clip began spreading across social media and when Nava himself commented on the play in a since-deleted tweet.
“Can’t stop, won’t stop,” he wrote alongside a video of the play.
Can't stop, won't stop
— Connar Tava (@megacon_2) January 7, 2017
He later joked, “If it wasn’t for my high level athleticism I woulda went down.”
Accusing Allen of trying to trip Nava seems like an overreaction, but it’s fair to debate whether the preseason All-American’s movement was natural or not.
Maybe he truly unintentionally stuck his leg up as he tried to regain his balance. Perhaps he was flailing in hopes of trying to draw a foul as he has been known to do. Or it’s possible he had Draymond Green-like intentions and was going for a kick below the belt.
Whatever the explanation, Allen only has himself to blame that this incident will be part of the news cycle for the next 24-48 hours. You can’t automatically give him the benefit of the doubt anymore given his inauspicious track record.
In a Feb. 8 matchup with Louisville, Allen stuck both his legs out and appeared to intentionally trip Cardinals forward Ray Spalding as he ran up floor, resulting in a flagrant foul. Seventeen days later against Florida State, Allen lifted his left leg and tripped Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the Seminoles guard began to run up court, resulting in a public reprimand from the ACC but no suspension.
Then after apologizing profusely during the offseason and vowing to never make the same mistake again, Allen tripped a player for a third time in the first half of Duke’s 72-61 victory over Elon on Dec. 21. As Elon’s Steven Santa Ana spun past him on the baseline, Allen stuck out his right leg and swept his opponent’s left leg out from under him.
Allen’s third tripping incident caused Mike Krzyzewski to strip him of his captaincy and indefinitely suspend him. The junior guard returned to Duke’s lineup on Wednesday night after sitting out just one game, an 89-75 loss at Virginia Tech.
Aside from the play involving him and Nava, Allen had an excellent game against Boston College. He scored 12 points and dished out 11 assists, exactly what’s needed from him by a Duke team lacking a true point guard.