Throughout Grayson Allen’s quick rise, turbulent descent and subsequent redemption in four years at Duke, he has been labeled everything from a dirty player to one whose number should hang in the rafters.
Now, one thing is for certain: he is a first round pick.
The Utah Jazz made a bet on the sharp-shooting guard, selecting him the No. 21 overall pick. Allen became the third Blue Devil selected in the 2018 NBA Draft after Marvin Bagley III went No. 2 overall to the Sacramento Kings, Wendell Carter Jr. went No. 7 to the Chicago Bulls. Duke has now had 13 first round selections in the past six drafts.
The Jacksonville, Fla. native burst onto the scene as a freshman when it counted the most, helping the Blue Devils earn their fifth national championship in 2015.
Allen didn't start playing double-digit minutes routinely until deep in conference play, but exploded once Duke found itself in the Final Four. The fiery guard helped the Blue Devils thump Michigan State before dropping 16 points in just 21 minutes to push them past Wisconsin for the title.
The 6-foot-5 guard had his most productive season in Durham as a sophomore, averaging nearly 22 points per game while making just a tick below 42 percent of his 3-point tries. But after the Blue Devils slogged through the regular season—per their lofty standards—Allen’s team couldn’t make it past the Sweet 16 and he returned to Duke despite many speculating he would leave for the NBA.
Even during his sophomore season, Allen ended up drawing the ire of many around the nation after a series of highly publicized tripping incidents. At the time, he received a reprimand from the ACC but never missed time until his junior season, when he was suspended “indefinitely” by head coach Mike Krzyzewski after tripping Elon’s Steven Santa Ana.
The suspension lasted just one game, but he lost his captaincy as a result. Allen’s production on the court also dipped from his prolific sophomore season, making just 36.5 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaging 14.5 points per game.
As a senior, Allen earned his captain title back and was tasked with leading a freshman-laden team as the squad’s lone senior. With Bagley as the team’s primary option on offense, Allen took more of a back seat, but still struggled to find his shooting stroke for much of the season, which ended with a tight Elite Eight loss to Kansas.
Some evaluators have been high on Allen’s NBA potential, including one anonymous NBA scout that told The Athletic’s Seth Davis that Allen is misunderstood for his on-court controversies and would make an impact.
Others have been more skeptical about Allen’s NBA prospects, questioning his defensive chops and apparently limited upside.
Point guard Trevon Duval and guard Gary Trent Jr. remains the lone eligible Blue Devils yet to be drafted after just one season in Durham.
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