Early in his career, Duke guard Grayson Allen earned a somewhat incongruous nickname from his teammates: Deebo, after the mountainous, cross-eyed bully in Friday. A skinny white boy who went to private school and looks like Ted Cruz’s illegitimate son, Allen isn't exactly a dead ringer for Compton's biggest bully.
But Allen earned the nickname not because of physical resemble to Deebo, but because he too is a raging prick. Even he thinks so. “I’ll take it I guess. I’ll take being a bully on the court,” he told Sports Illustrated last year.
And a bully he is. On Thursday, Allen deliberately tripped a player in the middle of a game for the second time this season. When he did it to Louisville’s Ray Spalding earlier this month, he was assessed a flagrant foul for a move that should have sent him to the showers Thursday’s night trip was more sly and the refs didn’t see it. The bully is learning, but he couldn't hide from the camera.
Sticking his foot out is obviously the worst part of this, but the feigned surprise at Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes going down and the half hearted attempt at helping him get up? That’s what takes Allen from dirty player to full-on villain. He’s not just willing to break the rules for an advantage, but he’s disingenuous about it. That kind of thing is sustenance to the haters.
It should be noted, that the reason Allen’s dickishness grates so much is because he’s damn good. Talents makes the hell turn all the better. No one cares about a villain who's got no chance of winning. If Allen wasn’t averaging 20.9 points per game and leading Duke in assists, he’d just be an asshole, which, by the way, is Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s nickname for Allen. But since he’s both an asshole and hell of player, he deserves a loftier title, one held by some many Duke players before him: Arch Villain of college basketball.