Justice Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones. Those are the names remembered when talking about Duke’s national title team last year but there is one name that is forgotten. Grayson Allen. He was named to the all final four team and scored 16 points in the national championship game, including 8 straight when Duke was down 9 and put them back in the game.
This was the first time a lot of America had heard the name Grayson Allen. So let me tell you a little bit about how a boy from Florida became one of basketball’s elite scorers.
Grayson Allen is from Jacksonville, Florida and was a household name in high school. He won a state championship as a junior and was a McDonald’s All American his senior year. He won the slam dunk competition over his future teammate Jahlil Okafor. He was the 21st ranked prospect in the 2014 ESPN 100 and had offers from teams like Florida, Florida State, Wichita State, and Cincinnati, but ultimately chose Duke.
His freshman year he was a role player off the bench and only averaged a little over 4 points per game in 35 games played, but he had moments of greatness sprinkled in there.
He went off for 27 against Wake Forest and in the two final four games played, he had 25 total points, was 10-11 from the line and was a huge factor in the outcome of the games. Allen is such a dynamic scorer because he has a quick release that allows him to get shots off before the defense can react, he has an impressive vertical jump which helps him finish strong on his drive and at the rim and he is a fantastic free throw shooter which makes him almost impossible to stop (unless you are Kentucky apparently). After his freshman year, many people felt he was in position to have an outstanding sophomore season.
He is off to a great start to his sophomore campaign so far. He is averaging 24.4 points per game, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In Duke’s first 5 games, he has had 25 points or more in four of them and has had 30 points or more in his last two games. He is shooting 52 percent from the field, 53 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent from the free throw line.
These numbers would be much more staggering if he did not go 2-11 with 6 points against Kentucky. He is my pick for player of the year and many people have him as one of the top draft picks in this years upcoming draft. It will be interesting to see how his scoring game progresses throughout the year more than it already has. He will have to lead a young Duke team on his back if they want to have another tournament run to the championship his year.
Spark Sports NCAA Analyst