Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick can certainly relate to the scrutiny besieging Duke Blue Devils star Grayson Allen, who's been criticized as a dirty player of late after tripping Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes this past Thursday.
Redick was in the national spotlight during his Duke heyday and spoke on his podcast Monday about how certain Blue Devils have been media-manufactured targets to condemn, per USA Today's Nina Mandell and Lila Bromberg:
I think it's fine for an opposing fan base to choose a player to root against or maybe you dislike certain guys, my issue though is I think the media has perpetuated this white Duke villain myth as much as anyone. Grayson is one of the nicest guys I've ever met, Jon Scheyer is one of the nicest guys I've ever met — never seen Jon Scheyer do anything dirty. Greg Paulus, one of the nicest guys I've ever met...And you know me too, I probably in a way brought on some of the animosity towards me with the antics, the smiling, the head-bobbing, the trash-talking, but to be honest with you, it was more in reaction to the hate that was already coming my way before I ever really did anything to warrant it. It's almost like every time there’s a player at Duke, the media says 'oh, you should dislike this guy.' I can remember being in school my senior year, Greg Paulus was a freshman, and there were numerous articles that year, 'Greg Paulus is the next hated Duke player.'
Ever since the days of Christian Laettner—there was an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about him not subtly titled I Hate Christian Laettner—Duke players have indeed been susceptible to what Redick commented on.
For some like Laettner and Redick, they were able to embrace the negativity, feed off it and use it as fuel to achieve greatness on the hardwood. The same goes for many of the Blue Devils after them, including Allen, who's averaging 20.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.
Shane Battier is the other somewhat recent Blue Devil who comes to mind whose conduct on the court was a catalyst for widespread vitriol.
Battier was the poster child for taking charges, which may have been considered flops by some and served as frequent, momentum-swinging plays. At least his antics were within the rules and could be seen as Battier creating a competitive edge.
Allen's stupendous sophomore campaign has been overshadowed by the aforementioned trip of Rathan-Mayes toward the end of Duke's 80-65 win. The 20-year-old also tripped Louisville's Ray Spalding in a Feb. 8 game, so like some of his predecessors, Allen has invited some of the attention.
On the first tripping occasion, Allen was whistled for a flagrant foul, but he was not called for a foul on his second offense. The ACC reprimanded him recently, which will hopefully put an end to the unsavory tactics.