High School Sports

The Elon player Duke’s Grayson Allen tripped is a former Charlotte high school basketball star

The player that Duke’s Grayson Allen tripped during a college basketball game last night is a former high school all-star from Charlotte.

Allen was suspended indefinitely by Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski for tripping Elon’s Steven Santa Ana during the Blue Devils’ 72-61 win. Santa Ana, who played at Ardrey Kell High in southeast Charlotte, has become part of the national conversation, but he declined to talk about it when reached by the Observer Thursday. He was out playing golf with his father.

As a senior in high school, Santa Ana led Ardrey Kell on Cinderella run to the state finals in 2015. In a 70-64 N.C. 4A state finals loss to Garner, Santa Ana had one of the best finals’ performances in N.C. history. He scored 33 of his 44 points in the second half and added eight rebounds. He made 13-of-15 free throws. In the semifiinals, Santa Ana made a corner 3-point shot at the buzzer to beat heavily favored West Charlotte, the school that current North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks once led to a state title.

“He is the fiercest competitor I’ve ever coached,” said Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft.

Craft didn’t see Wednesday’s Duke-Elon game. He was at the movies, watching “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” with his family. But as soon as he got out of the movie and turned his iPhone on, Craft’s text messages started popping in, about 25 in all.

“I’ve seen (the play) since then and I know Duke has moved to suspend (Allen),” Craft said. “But Steven popped up and kept his cool and I was really proud of him for keeping his cool and playing the game.”

Craft traded texts with Santa Ana Wednesday night.

“I said, ‘You’re all over social media,’” Craft said. “He said, ‘Yes, but I wish it was because I played so well, but I can’t get shots to fall.’ He wasn’t harping on the incident. That says a lot about him. He was just worried about how he played and how Elon played than what happened.”