Grayson Allen is back at Duke for his senior season, and he will once again be the captain of the Blue Devils. That honor was stripped from the 6-foot-5 guard in December, after he tripped an opponent.
At the time, it was the third such incident for Allen in 2016, following a pair late in the 2015-16 season. After he appeared to cause Elon’s Steven Santa Ana to hit the floor in a December game, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided he’d seen enough, handing Allen an indefinite suspension and removing his captaincy.
Krzyzewski reinstated Allen to the team after just one game, a loss to Virginia Tech, but did not restore his leadership role. On Monday, though, Duke confirmed a report by The Athletic that the Blue Devils had voted Allen as team captain.
Allen is one of the few returning Blue Devils with significant experience; the team lost six contributors from last season’s squad, including four to the NBA draft, three in the first round. As has often been the case with the program in recent years, Krzyzewski brought in a stellar recruiting class, featuring top prospects such as Marvin Bagley, Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr.
Allen’s production dropped last season as he struggled with an ankle injury as well as the notoriety that came with being, in the eyes of many fans, college basketball’s biggest villain. Compared to his sophomore campaign, his scoring dropped from 21.6 points per game to 14.5, his shooting from .466 percent to .395 and his rebounds from 4.6 to 3.7 in nine fewer minutes per game.
Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel told the Raleigh News & Observer that being “looked upon as being that so-called villain at Duke … wore on [Allen] for the last two years.” He said that the guard is now “in a great place.”
“The very first thing is he is healthy. He’s happy,” Capel said of Allen. “He’s had time to reflect, to get refreshed.”
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