Grayson Allen's production dropped after a stellar sophomore season, as the preseason National Player ...

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen

Season breakdown: Allen had a tumultuous junior year, plagued by a slew of lower-body injuries and another highly-publicized tripping incident in December. Although he had a few big moments, he was nowhere near the consistent performer he was for most of last season.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native struggled from the field in November as he battled turf toe, shooting just 4-of-15 in Duke’s first loss of the season against Kansas. 

But he broke out Dec. 10 against UNLV with a career-high 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting, including a tomahawk dunk on a cut from the wing that remains one of the highlights of the Blue Devils’ season. 

The momentum would not last, however, due to a fateful decision Allen made in the first half of Duke’s win against Elon Dec. 21. With Phoenix guard Steven Santa Ana spinning on a drive to the basket late in the first half, Allen stuck his leg out to trip him, earning a flagrant foul and an "indefinite"-turned one-game suspension for the third such incident in his career.

The incident sent Allen into a funk for several weeks, but he finally heated up during the Blue Devils’ seven-game winning streak in the heart of conference play, scoring 25 points in a home win against then-No. 8 North Carolina Feb. 9.

A left ankle injury sidelined him for a loss at Miami in late February and relegated him to the bench for the rest of the season, with head coach Mike Krzyzewski electing to start freshman phenom Frank Jackson instead. But Allen thrived in his new reduced role, knocking down five triples in an ACC semifinal win against the Tar Heels and leading Duke in scoring in both of its NCAA tournament games.

Results relative to expectations: Nobody envisioned the preseason National Player of the Year favorite coming off the bench by the end of the season. Allen’s drop in production was steep as he took a backseat to second-team All-American Luke Kennard on the perimeter.  Allen shot just 39.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc, both more than five percent worse than his numbers as a sophomore.

After overloading both semesters this year academically and staying on track to graduate early this spring, Allen clearly had his sights on playing in the NBA following this season. But after his disappointing campaign, he is unlikely to be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft, raising the possibility that he will return to Duke for his final season of eligibility and enroll in a graduate program in the fall. 

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