It’s not too hard to quantify what it means to both Duke and to Grayson Allen that he has chosen to give college basketball another year. Obviously you can measure it in points, and assists and that makes it very easy. Allen Averaged 14.5 points her game this past season – which is about 7 points under what he produced his sophomore year and Allen held steady at 3.5 assists per contest. Allen played 7 less minutes a game so that drop off, honesty, should have been expected. His 3 point shooting did suffer some but when adjusting to a new role, and new team mates this also isn’t uncommon – there were times in games where Allen pressed and didn’t gel with the offense. Regardless of his drop-off an unhealthy Allen, at least statistically, didn’t have a BAD year – just not the year he’d hoped for.
I think the true measures of what Duke will gain from Allen staying in Durham for another season come down to his experience and his adoration for the program that gave him his chance to shine. Next year’s Duke team will be probably even more youthful than last year and having a presence like Allen, someone who has been through nearly everything a college basketball player can go through on the roster, can only help. Allen has been a National Champion, an ACC Champion, and he’s experienced tournament flame-outs and has had his every moved examined and reported on by every sports porn network, blog and social media troll. There isn’t much the newcomers and holdovers from last years roster can go through that Allen has not seen. Allen is battle tested. What Duke and Duke fans alike are hoping is that those trials and tribulations bring a Grayson Allen who retains that competitive fire but is also unflappable when things may not go his way.
Allen, with his return, is giving back to this program that has been as loyal to him as it has to any other player in recent memory. Duke could have very easily dropped the hammer on Grayson Allen and the world wouldn’t have recoiled a bit. You could say that Coach K’s loyalty to Allen perhaps gave Allen a very good reason for returning that loyalty. The job of a coach is obviously to teach, but more over it’s to put players in a position to succeed. Coach K has done that for Grayson Allen for the entirety of his Duke career thus far. I can only imagine that this opportunity for coach, player and program is something that will be noticed both on the recruiting trail as well as the locker room.
Last year to a certain extent it should have been Grayson’s team but injury and various gaffes on the court took that way from him, some might say he gave it away. This upcoming season you could make the argument that Duke’s successes or failures will fall directly on the shoulders of their lone senior leader – I think Coach K and company are very much OK with that.