The most controversial man in college basketball will spend one more season in Durham.
On Tuesday, Duke announced that guard Grayson Allen will return to the school for his senior year in 2017-2018. The school released a statement announcing the news, with Allen sharing the following quote:
“The last few weeks have provided the opportunity for a lot of reflection and prayer,” Allen said. “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 averaged 14.5 points per game last season on a loaded Duke squad that won the ACC tournament before falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament to South Carolina. Of course, most of the focus on Allen came off the court, where he came under national scrutiny after several instances where he was caught trying to trip players during games. Duke eventually suspended Allen indefinitely in December, a move that became controversial itself when Allen returned to the court after missing just one game.
Despite the controversy, there is no doubt that – when he’s fully focused on basketball – Allen is one of the most talented players in college basketball. Despite the modest numbers last year, he averaged 21.6 points per game as a sophomore in 2016 – a number he should come closer to reaching on a young Duke squad in 2018. The Blue Devils have lost Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Harry Giles to the NBA Draft, with forward Chase Jeter electing to transfer from the program.
However, with Allen back and with another loaded recruiting class (featuring Top 10 prospects Gary Trent Jr. and Wendell Carter), the Blue Devils should remain in the Top 10. They could even begin the year ranked No. 1 if remaining five-star recruits Trevon Duval and Mohamed Bamba elect to come to Durham. Both have Duke listed among their final few schools.