Duke’s Grayson Allen just can’t seem to stop himself. So Coach Mike Krzyzewski will put a stop to the unsportsmanlike behavior of his best player by relegating Allen to the bench.
Allen was caught intentionally tripping an opponent in a game for the third time in 10 months when he took down Elon’s Steven Santa Ana on Wednesday during No. 5 Duke’s 72-61 victory. Allen stuck out his right leg when Santa Ana attempted to drive past him on the baseline late in the first half, and Santa Ana crashed to the floor.
Allen was whistled for a technical foul and became visibly distraught. He appeared to be upbraiding himself.
Krzyzewski spoke to Allen privately after the game. Allen then apologized to Santa Ana and Elon coach Matt Matheny.
"I made a really bad play. I'm sorry to him, Santa Ana," Allen told reporters. "I'm sorry to the officials who had to call that. I'm sorry to my team. It was selfish and taking away from them. I'm not proud of that at all."
Kryzyzewski called the incident “unacceptable and inexcusable,” one that did “not meet the standards of Duke basketball,” and announced Thursday morning that he was suspending the junior guard for an indefinite period of time.
"It's a learning experience," Krzyzewski said on The Dan Patrick Show. "He won't play until I feel good about the entire situation and where he is at. That's my responsibility as his coach and as a teacher of young men.
“He can't believe that he did that. For him, he would die for his team. Here, he let his team down. That's a big punishment for him, and he knows it. I love that kid. A lot of crap has happened to him, and a lot of bad shots at him. That doesn't mean it's right for you to try and get back.
"I worry about him because, obviously, the impact it has had on him at a very, very deep level. A very, very deep level. And so that's very concerning to me. ... I've been in constant touch with Grayson in making sure he's OK, that we are taking steps."
Allen is known for his aggressive, hyper and some opponents might say irritating style of play. He’s always the object of boos and taunts when he visits the University of Miami’s arena. Allen tripped Louisville’s Ray Spalding on Feb. 8 and Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes on Feb. 25 last season.
"Ultimately, I let my emotions get the most of me -- in the heat of the moment, you know, did something that's unacceptable and not something I'm proud of,” Allen told ESPN before this season. “I think I'm a lot more mature now."
As a freshman -- when one of his teammates was Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow -- Allen helped lead Duke to a 68-63 win over Wisconsin in the NCAA championship game.
“We were kind of dead in the water,” Krzyzewski said then. “We were nine points down and Grayson just put us on his back.”
Duke’s next game is its ACC opener Dec. 31 against Virginia Tech. The University of Miami plays at Duke on Jan. 21 and the Blue Devils visit UM’s Watsco Center on Feb. 25.
Allen and three teammates on Duke’s loaded roster have struggled with injuries so far this season, which they began as favorites for the national title.