SALT LAKE CITY — By now, Grayson Allen is getting weary of any talk about his “reputation” as a collegiate player at Duke following him into the NBA.
Allen, as most basketball followers know, was involved in several tripping incidents in college, including one last December that resulted in an indefinite suspension that ended up being just one game.
Allen had to answer questions about that reputation when he was first drafted by the Utah Jazz in June and one came up again in his first media day interview, wondering if his reputation might follow him into the league.
“I don’t really think about that, to be honest,” Allen replied. “I’ve gotten used to playing basketball where guys are challenging me and coming at me and it will be a step up at this level. If it happens, it happens. I’m not backing down. I don’t think about it, I don’t know whether to expect it or not expect it. I’m sure it will happen.”
The Jazz are happy to have Allen on their side and the feistiness he brings to a club that already has several feisty players, such as Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert, Jae Crowder and Ricky Rubio, each of whom has shown an ability to get under opponents’ skin.
Ingles, for one, likes what he’s seen so far from the rookie from Duke in that regard.
“I didn’t know him at all, but he just knows how to play,” Ingles said. “He plays hard and has a passion to win and compete is at a super high level. Since he’s been here, he’s shown he can step in and play right away.”
Coach Quin Snyder has praised Allen ever since the Jazz selected him with the No. 21 pick last June and he said the rookie is getting better every day in practice.
“One thing for Grayson is his teammates have really embraced him and when you get that it gives you confidence,” Snyder said. “He’s doing good.”
Snyder did say Allen has “had some situations where he hasn’t known what’s going on.” He laughed about a situation Wednesday where Rubio pulled himself off the court for a minute and Allen had to replace him and didn’t know the play.
“Grayson had to play the point and didn’t know the play yet . . . you never know if they’re doing that on purpose to mess with him,” Snyder said.
As for Allen, he is feeling more comfortable each day after admitting feeling quite nervous at the start of the week.
“I was definitely really nervous going into (Tuesday) my first official day, but honestly it’s all gone pretty well so far,” he said. “Everyone is helping me out, helping me with the terminology the speed of things and all that, so it’s a pretty smooth adjustment right now.”
Allen is a rarity in today’s NBA as a player who played four years of college rather than leaving early for the league. He sees his extra experience as a plus.
“I think it’s helped,” he said. “It’s making the adjustment a little better because I have all things you’re supposed to have when you come into a team. I just have to learn the terminology. I know good habits from four years in college, I know the right and wrong, I know how to be vocal, and all that helps you out and make the transition a little bit smoother.”
Allen may be the only new player among the 13 players who suit up each night for the Jazz since only Jonas Jerebko is not back from last year’s top 13. So what are his expectations for this season?
“I’m not a expectations guy,” he said. “It’s all been good so far.”
JAZZ NOTES: Thabo Sefolosha sat out of Thursday’s practice with a mild left ankle sprain. ... Trey Lewis missed practice for the second straight day because of a sprained left ankle. ... The Jazz will take on the Perth Wildcats on Saturday at Vivint Arena followed by a game Tuesday against Toronto and another home game against the Adelaide 36ers Friday night. Then they go on the road for games at Portland and Sacramento the following week.