What a joke! Coach K ends Grayson Allen’s ‘indefinite suspension’ after just one game

Give Mike Krzyzewski credit: In a situation where everybody was expecting the least of the Duke coach, he managed to outdo even the lowest of expectations.

The “indefinite suspension” of Grayson Allen, the Blue Devils star who intentionally kicked Elon’s Steven Santa Ana in a game four days before Christmas, turned out to be a token one. The junior was inexplicably back in the starting lineup on Wednesday night against Georgia Tech, which happens to be Coach K’s final game before undergoing back surgery that should keep him off the sideline for a month. (Assistant Jeff Capel will replace the legendary Duke coach.) In all, Allen was held out of just one game, a game the Blue Devils happened to lose to a Virginia Tech team pegged to finish somewhere in the middle of the ACC. All of this timing is purely coincidental, I’m sure.

A Duke sycophant and/or Coach K acolyte will say the suspension lasted just under two weeks. True. And in January or February, that timeframe might have been reasonable, as teams play two games per week. But with the Blue Devils taking off nine days over Christmas and only playing one game in the 13 days after the suspension, two weeks was tantamount to banning an MLB starting pitcher for nine games. It’s barely sanction at all.

Allen, a third-time offender in the kicking and tripping department, was given a flagrant foul for the incident two weeks ago and then went unhinged on the bench, losing all outward composure in a startling display of temper. Dealing with two separate issues – his player’s dirtiness and that player’s inability to control his emotions — Coach K sent a very strong message by sitting Allen for the remaining four minutes of the first half and keeping him on the bench for the start of the second half, waiting a full three minutes before allowing him to resume play. That’ll show him.

After the game, Krzyzewski acknowledged the incident when asked about it, but seemingly dismissed it as an in-house matter and appeared to be done with it. It wasn’t until the next day, when the outcry over Allen’s play became unavoidable, that Coach K assessed an intentionally vague “indefinite suspension.”

At the time, we said Allen should get five games for his actions but predicted he’d only get four, which would have conveniently brought him back for the Blue Devils’ biggest game of January against Louisville. Instead, Coach K, supposedly the sport’s premiere molder of young men for both basketball and life, pulled the rip cord after one defeat.

(Getty Images)
Getty Images

It’s a tremendous dichotomy. How can Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest coach of all time, a West Pointer who led Team USA to two Olympic gold medals and a family man well known for his charitable works, be so slimy when it comes to one aspect of the game he owns? The easiest answer is that he’s heard all the plaudits for 30 years and buys into it – when the press says you can do no wrong, you start buying into it. It’s what Krzyzewski always hated about Dean Smith. Whether or not he sees it is a whole different story.

How can K think this message will get Allen’s attention and set an example for his teammates and future recruits? Caving after one game, and doing it without publicly discussing it, suggests Allen’s suspension was going to be for however long Duke could survive his absence. Some leader.

The only party that comes off worse than Allen and Krzyzewski is the ACC, which impotently allowed Duke to levy its own discipline that ended up being no more than a slap on the wrist. Self-discipline doesn’t work when parties act solely with their own self-interest in mind.