For a few hours last night, the sports world realized that Mike Krzyzewski—the vaunted Duke coach—was just like every other college basketball or football coach in America and not amateur athletics’ moral compass that so many casual fans assume him to be.
Coach K didn’t want to be told what needed to be done—really what should have been done a long time ago—and didn’t want to hear your suggestions on how to handle his problem child. He was more concerned with making the latest distraction to his program disappear and, if we’re being completely honest here, winning.
Because last night, Krzyzewski had to deal with the aftermath of his stud junior Grayson Allen tripping an opponent (the third time he’s pulled a stunt like that), further cementing Allen’s status as the most hated and arguably dirtiest player to suit up for the Blue Devils since Christian Laettner. And Krzyzewski basically told anyone after the game who wanted criticize him or his player to STFU because he knows best. The only thing missing was Lil Uzi Vert's "Do What I Want" blasting in the background.
If you somehow missed it last night, Allen—the Draymond Green of college basketball—went all Karate Kid on Steve Santa Ana from Elon in the first half and the reaction to Allen’s latest dirty play was loud as it spread swiftly across social media and pretty clear when the controversy took over ESPN’s Kentucky-Louisville halftime show.
Grayson Allen out here kicking people Draymond Green style. pic.twitter.com/Qtbp6Slk6v— Kyle Boone (@kylebooneCBS) December 21, 2016
One of Coach K’s former players, Jay Williams, took him to task for basically allowing Allen’s child-like behavior to continue. Coach K should suspend Allen immediately, Williams said, adding that it was preposterous that a junior would pull another stunt like this and that it was ridiculous Allen had never been publicly punished for his previous (and blatant) trips (the ACC reprimanded Allen last year after trip No. 2). Allen played in the second half of Duke’s win with no hints of punishment.
After the game, Krzyzewski didn’t want to hear about how he handled Allen. Maybe Krzyzewski didn’t have a chance to watch the footage yet, but Coach K got on his high horse and told members of the media that “I think I’ve handled this correctly, and moving forward I will handle this correctly, and I don’t need to satisfy what other people think I should do.”
Meaning that Allen wasn’t going to miss any time because he never had in the past and the mini-tantrum he threw on the bench immediately after he was called for a foul was nothing but a minor outburst that would soon be forgotten, never to happen again. Because winning is what really matters and Duke needs Allen going forward with ACC play starting Dec. 31 against Virginia Tech. We’ll just make him run for extra sprints after practice and hope it doesn’t happen again.
At least Allen apologized for the trip after the game. Coack K couldn’t bring himself to apologize for his absurdly poor handling of Allen or his self-righteous sermon about how he’s got everything under control and it’ll all be fine.
a Christmas miracle occurred in Durham some time last night when college basketball’s moral compass had an epiphany. Because we woke up this morning to the news that Allen, a projected first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and one of the best players in the nation, finally got what he deserved.
Members of the college basketball media—but not all—have generally been reluctant to call out Coach K because he’s the most celebrated, revered, and powerful coach in the nation. But kudos to Williams, and his ESPN colleagues Seth Greenberg and Rece Davis, for putting Coach K in his place last night. They hammered him for allowing Allen to go unpunished for his previous transgressions and for being allowed back into the game and for the prospects of Coach K not doing a damn thing for a third time.
But a Christmas miracle occurred in Durham, North Carolina some time last night when college basketball’s moral compass had an epiphany. Because we woke up this morning to the news that Allen, a projected first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and one of the best players in the nation, finally got what he deserved.
"We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen," Krzyzewski said in a statement. "As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to [Elon's] Steven Santa 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."
Why it took a third offense for Allen to get suspended we can only assume had everything to do with winning and Coach K's ego because when it comes down to it, is he really any different than all the other coaches out there? The ones who always know best and who prioritize winning all too frequently over doing what really needs to be done? Some moral compass.