Grayson Allen is well on his way toward becoming the next in a long line of elite Duke Villains.
The senior guard from Jacksonville, Fla. is a three time All-ACC Academic Team honoree, started his year senior season ranked 33rd in program history in scoring and rode Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones' coattails to a national championship in 2015. Add in that he was around for coach Mike Krzyzewski's 1,000th career win and 1,000th career win at Duke, and Grayson almost perfectly fits the mold of a Blue Devil you want to boo.
But simply being good and winning at Duke aren't enough to be a real Duke Villain. Those are reasons enough for fans of any another ACC team to dislike a Duke player, but Allen is more hated than just regionally despised. He is floating toward a space that is reserved for legends like Christian Laettner, J.J. Redick, Steve Wojciechowski and Greg Paulus.
So let's look at what it is about Grayson Allen that makes him so easy to hate.
The Grayson Allen hate wasn't really established until his sophomore season, but he was laying the ground work to become the next Duke Villain before he even arrived at school. Allen was one of four McDonald's All-Americans in Coach K's 2014 recruiting class along with Okafor, Jones and Justise Winslow.
When the All-Americans got together in Chicago in 2014 for the game, Grayson showed the world part of what makes him so hateable: he's freakishly athletic. Normally, everyone loves to cheer for the best athlete on the basketball court, especially when he can throw down ridiculous dunks like these:
However, when that player looks like a younger version of Ted Cruz and plays for Duke, it doesn't bring the same joy to the average fan.
Grayson Allen attacks the rim the way we all wished Billy Hoyle could have in White Men Can't Jump, and if he played anywhere else in the country, we would all celebrate that. But he doesn't play anywhere else. He plays at Duke. And he leaps like this.
It makes sense to hate this guy when you're jealous you can't leap like that.
Big Game Moments
It's one thing for Grayson to show off his skills in blowout wins at the start of the season. It's quite another for him to shine in big moments. So naturally, Grayson Allen finds a way to step up when the lights shine brightest.
In seven career games against North Carolina he is averaging 16.9 points and the Blue Devils are 5-2, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
On Duke's run to its fifth national title, way back during his freshman year, Allen didn't make much noise until the Final Four. Then he dunked all over Michigan State in the semifinals.
And after that, there was the championship game. The Blue Devils needed some energy with Okafor and Winslow in foul trouble and Wisconsin looking to take control of the game. And that energy came from a freshman guard who only averaged 4.4 points a game that season.
Allen played 21 minutes and was second on the team in scoring with 16 crucial points.
Look at that passion. That intensity. That grit.
Don't you just hate seeing it in a Duke uniform?
As if having a great performance in the title game wasn't enough, Grayson followed it up with a strong sophomore season in which he established himself as one of the most lethal scorers in college hoops. And on Feb. 13, 2016, Virginia found out the hard way that Grayson can go get a bucket when needed.
Did he walk on that play? Maybe. His right foot might have landed before he released the shot.
Was there any chance the refs would have called him for a travel on that play while wearing that uniform and playing in that stadium?
The answer to that question is why people love to hate him.
NCAA Tournament Letdowns
You can't be a true Duke Villain without at least one disappointing moment in the NCAA Tournament. Laettner and Bobby Hurley lost the most lopsided championship game in history before winning back-to-back titles. Redick lost in the Sweet 16 three times, and his one trip to the Final Four featured a heartbreaking defeat to Connecticut in which the Blue Devils blew an eight-point lead with three minutes and 15 seconds to play in the game.
Allen is no different. A year after winning a national title, Allen and Duke got sent home in the Sweet 16 by Oregon in a 82-68 loss. Allen had 15 on 4-for-13 shooting.
Last season, after Allen was the leading vote getter on the AP Preseason All-American Team and Duke was ranked No. 1 in the country to start the year, the Blue Devils lost to South Carolina 88-81 in the second round of the tournament. Allen had a team-high 20 points off the bench.
It's times like this, when Duke falls short, that it becomes even easier to hate the team's top players.
Now, some of you might be thinking "none of these are actually good reasons to hate a college player." And you would be right. These are just reasons to hate a guy who plays for Duke and helped make sure all three Plumlee brothers left Durham with a ring. But Grayson is different than Jon Scheyer and Quinn Cook.
The reason Grayson Allen is climbing toward the top of the list of Duke Villains and the sports world has deemed it acceptable for anybody to hate him is because he has a weird knack of putting his foot in the wrong place at the right time.
It's a bit of a rite of passage at Duke.
With Grayson though, it's more than just one stomp, it's a trio of missteps.
First, there was an incident against Louisville on Feb. 8, 2016.
Then, there was an incident against Florida State on Feb. 25, 2016.
And as if these two weren't enough, there was an incident against Elon on Dec. 21, 2016.
And the temper tantrum that went along with it.
Look at Young Ted Cruz Face just losing his mind on the bench and tell me that you don't want to hate him at least a little bit. Unless you went to Duke or are a member of the Allen family, there's ample reason to root against the guy.
And with a talented group of freshman and Coach K at the helm, Allen has a strong chance to end his college career with another national title.
Just another reason to hate him.