Allen is vital to Duke's success

— -- At the national championship game last April, Grayson Allen made a name for himself. He scored 16 points in 21 minutes on the biggest stage in the sport. It was an incredible performance.

My friends, Allen has picked up where he left off at the end of last season. Yes, he struggled against Kentucky in an early-season spotlight, shooting 2-of-11 from the field (0-for-9 in the first half). A lot of people will have tough games against the Wildcats with their length and depth.

Allen put on a show in the Big Apple, against a pair of quality opponents, VCU and Georgetown. The Dukies needed every one of his points as both contests went down to nail-biter status down the stretch.

Allen did it all. He attacked the basket with tremendous tenacity, driving and scoring often. He made medium-range and long-range jumpers. Allen was reliable on the foul line in crunch time.

I am impressed by how he plays so hard, with reckless abandon. He also stands out as a passer, finding the open man and making his teammates that much better.

Just look at his line against the Hoyas: 32 points, 5-of-6 on trifectas, a perfect 9-of-9 from the foul line. He was a three-S man: super, scintillating, sensational.

I remember the first time I saw Allen play. I went to the City of Palms high school tournament in Florida to see Jahlil Okafor. Allen played against Okafor, and I could see right then that he was a special player.

Allen reminds me of a former Ohio State and Boston Celtics star, John "Hondo" Havlicek. You may remember Hondo, who played on a Buckeyes team with Jerry Lucas and a young man off the bench named Robert Montgomery Knight. Havlicek could do it all, too.

With the way Allen has started the season, 26 or more points in four of his first five games, it will be very difficult to keep him off All-America teams by the end of the season.