clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Grayson Allen Named Duke Captain

Some people might see it as a risky move but really it’s an affirmation.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament- Duke University vs UNC Wilmington
Mar 17, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) controls the ball against the the UNC Wilmington Seahawks during second half of a first round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. 
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Duke announced on Thursday that Grayson Allen would be the sole captain this year. After his tumultuous season last year people will understandably ask why. We can think of at least a few reasons:

  1. He’s the only experienced player who could possibly fill the role
  2. He’s grown up since last year and dealt with whatever issues Duke wanted him to deal with
  3. He’s supremely competitive and a solid role model for a young team.
  4. How about all three?

The next most experience player is Antonio Vrankovic and while we see potential in the smart young big man, he’s still down the depth chart and not likely to be on the floor enough to be an effective leader.

Justin Robinson is also a junior, also admirable, but the same problem.

That gets you down to the sophomore class and while Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden and Jack White could carve out big roles, they haven’t yet.

So Grayson’s really the only option in that sense.

However, we’re pretty sure Duke wouldn’t trust him with the role if the staff didn’t feel he was ready. He clearly had some big issues last year (remember Coach K’s guarded and mildly cryptic comment: “I’m responsible for that kid?”) but we’re guessing he’s grown a lot since then.

Finally, this is the guy, remember, who made what Coach K called the greatest play in Duke history, the diving steal attempt against Wisconsin in his freshman year in the national title game.

He places that play above the Laettner Shot, the Other Laettner Shot, the Chris Duhon drive against UNC to win that game in Chapel Hill, the one-on-one block of David Rivers by Johnny Dawkins, several plays by Shane Battier in the 2001 title game and the Gene Banks game winner against UNC in his first season as Duke’s coach.

What he’s fawning on isn’t the clutch play, although it was arguably a clutch play, but rather the immense competitive desire he showed in that moment. That’s what Duke hopes to see him instill in his team as a captain.

Is he up to it? We’re pretty sure he is.

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our new T-shirt!| Drop us a line