No. 1 Kansas defeated No. 2 Duke in the Midwest Regional Final on Sunday. The win moved the Jayhawks to the Final Four and ended the college career of Blue Devils senior Grayson Allen.
Allen is one of the more controversial college basketball players in recent memory — and for good reason. But following the loss, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke highly of Allen as both a player and leader.
“He’s one of the outstanding players to have ever played in our program.”
Coach K talks about Grayson Allen’s legacy. pic.twitter.com/uYFFlloVH4
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 25, 2018
“He’s a 2,000 point scorer, he’s a national champion, he’s been our leader this year. He’s one of the outstanding players to have ever played in our program. He did a great job of interacting with this young group and help the young group grow. I especially think that the relationship that he has with Marvin was a key for us getting as good as we were. You’re a shot away, a roll away from being in the Final Four. So of that has to do with their relationship and his leadership.”
Certainly, Krzyzewski has coached controversial players in the past. Christian Laettner and J.J. Redick are just two who come immediately to mind but over nearly four decades, there have been others. It’s one of the products of coaching at a school like Duke.
But another one of the products is coaching highly talented basketball players. Allen, for all of his faults, is certainly that. Some of Allen’s accomplishments are objective (ie: 2,000 points, 2015 National Champion) and almost don’t need to be stated. But coach K going out of his way to single out Allen’s leadership and relationship with Marvin Bagley III is telling.
By and large, Allen deserves a lot of the scorn that he’s received over the last four years. But he deserves the praise, as well.