Duke junior guard Grayson Allen will return for his senior year, the school announced Thursday.
Allen, a 6-5 point guard from Jacksonville, Fla., averaged 14.5 points for the Blue Devils his junior year, one that was marred by controversy.
After tripping an Elon player Steven Santa Ana in December, Allen was suspended for one game, stripped of his captaincy and under a microscope for the remainder of the season.
That nonconference finale in Greensboro on Dec. 21 became the third time Allen tripped an opponent that calendar year.
Never miss a local story.
He was recently spotted wearing a hat that read “Don’t trip,” in a way, taking on the persona.
Allen will enter the 2017-18 season as the ACC’s leading active scorer with 1,424 points. He’s averaged 13.6 points per game during his Duke career.
“The last few weeks have provided the opportunity for a lot of reflection and prayer,” Allen said in a statement. “I’m a firm believer that when something feels right, you go with it. The chance to play with next year’s team just felt right. I’m completely focused on helping Coach K and our staff lead this team to a special season. I love being a Duke student, and continuing to be part of the university culture is something I don’t take for granted.”
Allen scored a career-high 34 points at UNLV on Dec. 10, one day after returning to practice after being injured. He played through much of the season with ankle and foot injuries.
Allen was suspended for Duke’s ACC opener against Virginia Tech on Dec. 31. But then dished a career-high 11 assists against Boston College on Jan. 7, his second game after being reinstated.
He missed two games to injury and was critiqued whenever he was on the court from December on.
Upon his return from the suspension, he was named the starting point guard, which he said worked out because he was so banged up.
“It was a little tough because it was slightly out of position, because I’d never played it before,” Allen said in the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament in March. “Ultimately, it’s what I though was best just because I couldn’t fulfill what I was doing. It was much better for me to go get the ball to Luke (Kennard) on the wing or Jayson (Tatum).”
Kennard and Tatum, along with freshman Harry Giles, have declared for the NBA draft.
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan