Only 12 hours after Mike Krzyzewski was non-committal about how he would further punish Grayson Allen, the Duke coach has made up his mind.
Krzyzewski indefinitely suspended Allen on Thursday morning after the junior guard’s third tripping incident of the calendar year.
“We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night’s game against Elon,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released by Duke. “As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable.
“He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to Steven Santa Ana and Coach Matt Matheny. As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.”
The incident Wednesday night took place late in the first half of Duke’s 72-61 victory over Elon. As Elon’s Steven Santa Ana spun past him on the baseline, Allen stuck out his right leg and swept his opponent’s left leg out from under him, a play very reminiscent of the two tripping incidents last February that landed the All-American guard in the national media’s crosshairs.
In a Feb. 8 matchup with Louisville, Allen stuck both his legs out and appeared to intentionally trip Cardinals forward Ray Spalding as he ran up floor, resulting in a flagrant foul. Seventeen days later against Florida State, Allen lifted his left leg and tripped Xavier Rathan-Mayes as the Seminoles guard began to run up court, resulting in a public reprimand from the ACC but no suspension.
Allen’s third tripping incident inspired swift public outcry from fans and media for the Duke guard to receive a stiffer penalty. Krzyzewski sat Allen for the last four minutes of the first half and the opening three-plus minutes of the second half on Wednesday night, but he initially would not commit to a suspension when asked by reporters after the game.
“I handle things the way I handle them,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday night. “I think I’ve handled this correctly and moving forward I will continue to handle it correctly, and I don’t need to satisfy what other people think I should do.
“I’m a teacher and a coach. And I’m responsible for that kid, so I know him better than anybody. So to think that it’s the last thing that’s said about this to him is wrong. Obviously, we will do more. It doesn’t mean you have to see it, or anybody else has to see it.”
An indefinite suspension certainly qualifies as doing more, especially with the start of ACC play on the horizon. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils visit Virginia Tech on Dec. 31 and host league bottom feeders Georgia Tech and Boston College in their subsequent two games.
Allen, a preseason All-American, is Duke’s second-leading scorer so far this season but he has been hampered by a toe injury and has not shot as efficiently as he did as a sophomore. He’s averaging 16 points per game but on only 38.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.7 percent from behind the arc.
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