BROOKLYN, NY – During the ACC Tournament, every time it was announced that Duke’s Grayson Allen was entering the game, every time he touched the ball and every time he made a shot, boo’s rang from the stands at the Barclays Center. Allen’s trip-ups this season have been well documented and the junior served a one-game suspension because of them, but just because the Blue Devils have moved on, doesn’t mean everyone else has.
Grayson has officially become the modern day version of Christian Laettner – the former Duke player whose hate is so wide spread and well known that a documentary was created about it. He’s the new villain of college basketball.
For some players, this would be a role that they’d hate, because as human beings we naturally want to be liked, but Grayson seemed to excel in New York’s hostile environment. After generally struggling toward the end of the regular season, Allen silenced his NYC haters with back to back 18 point performances against Louisville and North Carolina.
So the question is, has Allen embraced the hate? Has he flipped it to use as a source of encouragement. I asked him after Saturday’s tournament championship and this is what he said.
What a perfect villain answer. Allen may not admit it publicly, but I think he’s learned to like being the bad guy and has used the hate to fuel him. But once he fully embraces the role of villain, it will only make his game better, because sometimes being bad is WAY more fun than being good.