Duke basketball Player of the Week: Week 1

Grayson Allen

The statline: Friday vs. Siena: 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting, five rebounds, two assists and one steal; Saturday vs. Bryant: career-high 28 points on 8-of-18 shooting, three rebounds, six assists and one steal

The good: When No. 5 Duke headed to the locker room against Siena Friday evening, sophomore guard Grayson Allen had scored 20 of the team’s 44 points. The Jacksonville, Fla., native finished the Blue Devils’ 92-74 home-opener victory against the Saints with 26 points, only one shy of his highest point total as a freshman.

Despite making an early-season statement with two dunks and six points from downtown, Allen was hungry for more and racked up a career-high 28 points one day later in Duke’s 113-75 rout against Bryant. Against the Bulldogs, the sophomore converted nine of his 10 attempts from the line and knocked down a pair of triples. Allen also finished with a team-high six assists and appears to be picking up right where he left a year ago.

The bad: Although head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad reduced its turnovers from 10 against the Saints to just six against the Bulldogs, Allen gave the ball away three times this weekend. In a one-minute span, Siena trimmed a 13-9 deficit and took a two-point lead after the sophomore’s inconsistency. But just seconds after freshman guard Derryck Thornton gave the lead back to Duke from beyond the arc, Allen redeemed himself, making it a three-point game with his first dunk of the evening.

The bottom line: With Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow all in the NBA, Allen has stepped up and will look to be one of the leaders in a squad seeking to renew itself. Although the team’s freshmen stole the spotlight in Duke’s two exhibition games a week ago, the Blue Devil squad will rely both offensively and defensively on Allen’s athleticism and self-confidence. With Jones and Quinn Cook out of the picture this season, the sophomore guard figures to be the main Blue Devil weapon from downtown. And with Winslow’s departure, Allen will show his fighting spirit to take on opponent’s guards and wingers.

Honorable mention: Junior guard Matt Jones assumed the crucial role of the sixth man of the national champion last season. But the following afternoon, the DeSoto, Texas, native is destined to provide the young high-talented newcomers with the voice of experience. But he will also aim to make an impact on the court as he demonstrated this weekend. Jones got over a groin injury that made him miss Duke’s exhibition games and although he only scored 10 points on a 4-of-8 shooting against Siena, the guard delivered a career-high 19 points Saturday, with 15 of them coming from long-range. Jones added four assists, three rebounds and three steals in the Blue Devils’ two first contests of the year.

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