A video clip circulating on Twitter has some debating about whether Duke senior guard Grayson Allen tried to trip Virginia’s Kyle Guy during the Cavaliers 65-63 win over the Blue Devils on Saturday.
The clip shows Allen stick his leg out as he tries to go over a screen set by Virginia center Jack Salt.
Some have interpreted it as Allen trying to trip Guy, whom he was guarding at the time. Others say Allen was just extending his leg as he fights to get over the screen.
But the online debate over whether Allen tripped someone during a game reflects his status as a controversial player. He has been involved in a number of tripping incidents during his time at Duke, most notably last season when he tripped Elon guard Steven Santa Ana.
The trip of Santa Ana was Allen’s third tripping incident that calendar year, and he was suspended for one game by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and stripped of his captain status as a result.
In the play against Virginia on Saturday, Allen’s intent is unclear.
When showed the video clip on Monday and asked whether he thought it was a basketball play, Heritage High School coach Tilden Brill III said “this is a tough one.”
“We teach our ball defenders to get their top foot (Grayson right foot here) over the top of the screener’s foot,” Brill, a high school coach of 12 years, said. “In this case, Grayson does this with some extra flair, my guess because he already knows he’s about to get beat.
“It’s a normal basketball move executed with desperation because he’s already out of position once the ball handler takes his first dribble off the screen.”
According to Duke basketball spokesperson Jon Jackson, Allen was not trying to trip Guy.
“The video shows Grayson trying to get around a screen set by a 6-10, 250-pound center to guard Kyle Guy, who is an outstanding player requiring constant defensive attention,” Jackson wrote in an email. “Grayson has been very forthright – and contrite – in discussing previous incidents and people have formed their own opinions, which is their right.
“The level of scrutiny has been unusually high throughout Grayson’s career. It is something we’ve learned to expect and manage. Certainly, we know what he means to Duke Basketball and what a valued member of our program he is.”
Having regained his captain status, Allen has had a quiet season. He said prior to the season that he knew all eyes would be on him. And they have been. On Friday, before the Virginia game, Allen also said that he is not trying to make headlines.
“I’ve never tried to be in the headlines,” Allen said. “Maybe people aren’t watching every second of games played this year and that’s what it is. Last year, it got to the point where people were looking hard enough and they found something. I think that’s what happens with anything. This year, I’m just continuing to play basketball.”
Guy and Allen were involved in an incident near the end of Saturday’s game when Guy’s elbow connected with Allen’s chin as Allen attempted to trap Guy in the corner. When Guy tried to help him up, Allen slapped his hand away. After the game, Allen acknowledged that he leaned into Guy’s elbow to initiate the contact.
“It wasn’t intentional or anything like that,” Allen said after the game. “I talked to Kyle after the game, so that’s no problem. It’s fine.”
Allen is averaging 15.1 points per game this season in 20 games played. Duke (18-3, 6-3 ACC) will host Notre Dame (13-8, 3-5) Monday night.
Notre Dame at Duke
When: 7 p.m., Monday
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham