said wrote it. For those of you who have followed the Extended Forecast, I have not mentioned his name. I called him “Duke boy” or the “Caruso Crusader” among various nicknames because I didn’t like him. I even forced his school to be North Carolina to spite him when I made my Bucks March Madness post. He was the key to Duke passing Wisconsin in 2015 to win the National Championship, and I just remember being furious following that game. I broke the remote, even. I flipped off the television every time they showed him not as a Buck since then, I even dubbed him my least favorite player aside from LeBron James. I hoped he wouldn’t make the NBA.
I remembered when Jon Horst pulled that trade for him that “cost” us Sam Merrill and two future second round picks on August 6, I was thinking anybody but him. I wasn’t happy, and that was right about when I started here with Brew Hoop. I remember in our first zoom meeting that he was a talking point asking our opinion on him and there I was flat out, only holding back to not swear on how much I didn’t like him. He’s a dirty player, he’s from Duke, he cost Wisconsin its only real shot for perhaps a long time at a title. Can’t we just stick with Donte?
The season went on, and I kept on tolerating him. Sixth in scoring at 11.1, a PER just under Pat Connaughton, and honestly, he appears as a second Connaughton on the stat line for the regular season. Even with shooting splits, they’re almost even from deep and the line, and 10% lower from two. So, no big deal if I don’t approve of what he’s done so far, right? But he has more “skill” than Pat, whereas Pat has more hustle if you had to sum it up in one sentence.
Then Khris Middleton slid on the hardwood in Fiserv Forum en route to an ugly Bucks loss, and I looked at the bench and the other wings. There was Pat, but he’s never really been a volume scorer or a creator. Wesley Matthews has his role and while he can score he just isn’t that guy anymore. George Hill might return and bring a boost. Jevon Carter is a career 4.4 points per game player. Jordan Nwora isn’t ready for this, and isn’t reliable. Rayjon Tucker? God help us. So we had to turn to Grayson Allen to replace Khris.
I put in my post titled “Ope, This Might Be a Long Series After All,” that Wesley, Pat or Grayson would have to shoulder Middleton’s load. I even stated that I would accept Grayson as a member of Wisconsin sports, if he were to help us overcome Middleton’s loss and get to the second round. That would show that his presence here mattered enough to overcome my anger about that game in 2015. And he did.
22 points on Friday, and 27 Sunday along with great shooting and some shot creation, and this young man has helped the Bucks take a commanding 3-1 lead with Game 5 coming up in Milwaukee. We have this in the bag, the Bulls had their fun.
Pat had some nice games, so did Wesley, and Holiday bounced back. But, if not for what Allen has done over the weekend, this could be a vastly different series. His skill on offense has helped overcome what we miss from Khris, and has really just helped this team move forward.
Don’t get me wrong, we will need Khris for Boston and beyond, but at least Grayson was able to help save us from a disaster of losing in the first round after winning the Finals. I won’t forgive, because that national championship was a rough night and it took away something we might never get again, but you do have a clean slate with me now moving forward, Grayson.