If you watched Duke take down Wisconsin in the NCAA men’s college basketball National Championship game last night, you may have noticed a kid wearing a no. 3 white Blue Devils jersey, who looked like he just finished playing the lead in his middle school’s production of Hamlet. He entered the game, calmly dropped 16 points on a series of 3-pointers and drives to the hoop and spurred an epic Duke comeback. Then he disappeared into the shadows from whence he came.
His name is Grayson Allen, and if you have no idea he was even on Duke’s roster, we can’t blame you. He got a DNP four times this season, and of the 35 games in which he did see the court, he played less than 10 minutes in 20 of them. In Duke’s Elite Eight matchup against Gonzaga, he played a whopping three minutes and didn’t score a single point. So how, not two games later, did Allen become the star of the NCAA Tournament?
Well for starters, Allen was really good in high school. As a senior at Providence High School in Jacksonville, Florida, he averaged almost 23 points per game, pulled down 6.7 rebounds and gave out 4.2 assists as his team went 28-5. All in all, Providence went 90-10 during Allen’s tenure, capturing one state title and appearing in the semifinals twice. After committing to Duke, he was selected to both the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.
Allen may have first caught your attention with this dunk against Michigan State in the Final Four, and you may have asked yourself, “Who in the world is that Duke kid who just threw down that nasty dunk?” That’s another thing about Allen. The dude can throw down. He dunked for the very first time at the age of 14, and then, to the shock of his Florida high school opponents, started dunking over anyone and anything.
Sidenote: I’d like to make it my goal in life to have strangers come up to me and ask if I could please dunk on them. Once I make it to that point, I can retire happy.
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Allen won the 2014 Powerade Jam slam dunk contest by dunking over his now teammate Jahlil Okafor. A simple YouTube search for “Grayson Allen Dunks” will provide you with a bevy of visuals of Allen dunking like an NBA player.
He also did this in high school, and some of them are better than anything the NBA Dunk Contest has produced in the past decade.
So, who the heck is Grayson Allen? He’s a 3-point marksman with an affinity for yamming on the rim. Something tells us you’re going to be seeing a lot more of the White Mamba during the 2015-2016 season as a key cog in Mike Krzyzewski’s offense.