Duke’s Grayson Allen regains an honor he’d let slip away

Grayson Allen is getting a second chance at being a team captain for Duke’s men’s basketball team.

A captain last season before losing that title for tripping an opposing player during a game, Allen has been elected as Duke’s captain this season by his teammates.

Duke spokesman Cory Walton confirmed Allen’s status on Monday. The news was first reported in a story about Allen in The Athletic.

Allen was elected by his teammates as one of three captains last season, along with seniors Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones. But that changed on Dec. 21 at the Greensboro Coliseum, when Allen tripped Elon’s Steven Santa Ana during the first half of a 72-61 Blue Devils win.

It was the third time Allen had tripped an opponent during a game within the 2016 calendar year. Krzyzewski suspended Allen indefinitely the next day and stripped him of his captaincy.

The suspension kept Allen out of one game, Duke’s 89-75 loss at Virginia Tech on Dec. 31.

A 6-5 senior guard, Allen is the lone player on Duke’s roster who has started more than one game. Duke has one junior player, 7-0 reserve center Antonio Vrankovic. Sophomore center Marques Bolden started one game as a freshman last season.

Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel said Allen was sensitive to how people felt about him. When he put himself and the program in a negative light, it affected him deeply.

“He had to learn how to adapt to all of those things,” Capel said. “Being looked upon as being that so-called villain at Duke. I think all of it wore on him for the last two years.”

That said, Allen decided to return to Duke for his senior season not knowing if he’d be entrusted as a captain again. His teammates gave him the answer and his coaches believe he’s ready for the task.

“I think he’s in a great place,” Capel said. “The very first thing is he is healthy. He’s happy. He’s had time to reflect, to get refreshed.”

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC