Guard Grayson Allen elected to skip the NBA Draft to return to Duke but his image has taken a hit ...

The Chronicle's top 10 of 2016: Grayson Allen returns for junior season but earns suspension for 3 tripping incidents

With the end of 2016 quickly approaching, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest sports stories of the year. Each day, The Blue Zone will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year in Blue Devil athletics.

Coming in at No. 8: Guard Grayson Allen forgoes the 2016 NBA draft and returns to Duke for his junior season but generates negative publicity with three tripping incidents.

After a first-team All-ACC sophomore campaign, guard Grayson Allen surprised many by opting to remain at Duke for an additional season instead of beginning a career in the NBA.

Allen did it all for the Blue Devils in 2015-16, scoring 21.6 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting from the 3-point line after averaging just 4.4 points per game his freshman season. After his drastic improvement in just one year, Allen could have been a first-round pick had he chosen to enter the 2016 NBA draft with fellow Blue Devil Brandon Ingram. 

But instead, the explosive guard chose to stay at school for one more year to try to graduate early and finish his degree.

“I love Duke and I’ve made relationships with my teammates that will last forever,” Allen said in April. “Coming back next season to play with them is important to me. Earning a Duke degree has always been a dream of mine, so I’ll also be working to get closer to that goal.”

The Jacksonville, Fla., native has always valued his education and is taking full advantage of his resources at Duke. Allen was an Academic All-American last season and took two full-credit classes last summer to get closer to earning his degree.

But Allen’s reputation has also been sullied by a string of tripping incidents.

The first two came in February, when first against Louisville and two weeks later against Florida State, he purposefully stuck his foot out and tripped an opposing player. 

In addition to receiving a reprimand from the ACC for the February trips, Allen received heavy criticism publicly and was compared to past Duke "villains" like Christian Laettner and J.J. Redick. 

Even though Allen claimed he put the tripping incidents in the past before the 2016-17 season and was named the preseason favorite for National Player of the Year, he tripped another player just days before ringing in the new year.

On Wednesday against Elon, the All-American tripped Elon guard Steven Santa Ana, receiving an indefinite suspension this time from head coach Mike Krzyzewski to cap off a disappointing nonconference slate in which he shot 38.4 percent from the field. 

“As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball,” Krzyzewski said. “To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.”

READ MORE on Allen's return to school and tripping incidents in 2016:

Grayson Allen appears to trip Florida State's Xavier Rathan-MayesGrayson Allen receives reprimand from the ACC for trip

Krzyzewski talks about ACC's reprimand of Grayson Allen following loss to Pittsburgh

Hero? Villain? 'He's a warrior': Grayson Allen has become Duke's polarizing star

Grayson Allen returning to Duke basketball for junior season

Grayson Allen's unique academic approach in the one-and-done era

Is Grayson Allen dirty? Comparing the superstar guard to past Blue Devil villains

ESPN analysts call for suspension after Grayson Allen trips Elon guard Steven Santa Ana

Duke suspends Grayson Allen indefinitely for tripping Elon guard Steven Santa Ana

Check back tomorrow to see what comes in at No. 7 in our countdown of the top Duke sports stories of 2016.

A look at the rest of our top 10 countdown to date:

10. Duke rowing makes first-ever NCAA championship

9. Duke football rallies to stun Notre Dame as injuries mount 

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