Michael Eckhardt Tucson: Allonzo Trier Returns with a Vengeance
Michael Eckhardt of Tucson is a sports blogger and an Arizona Wildcats fan. Today, he writes about the impact that Allonzo Trier has had on the team since he returned in late January.
For the longest time, Arizona Wildcats fans had been kept in the dark about the situation of star sophomore guard Allonzo Trier. While he was still on campus, he had not suited up. Rumors flew that he was suspended for a violation of team rules, but he has since been cleared by the NCAA after passing tests for a performance-enhancing drug that he unwittingly took after an injury.
Almost immediately, he made his presence known to Wildcat fans and the rest of the Pac-12. Against #3 UCLA, the 17th-ranked Wildcats silenced the raucous Pauley Pavilion crowd, scoring 96 points to the Bruins’ 85. Trier scored 12 of those points.
As the conference season moved on, Trier picked up where he left off in 2015-16. Against Stanford, he scored 22, while against USC, he scored 25 on a variety of jumpers and penetrations. At home against the Bruins, he scored a season-high 28 in a loss and closed out the regular season with 19 against Arizona State. Trier now has an average of 16.4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Not bad for someone who was in the freezer almost indefinitely.
What is the impact of Trier’s return to the team? Prior to his return, Arizona was already a good team, losing only to Butler and eventual #1 Gonzaga. With him on board, Arizona jumped from #13 in the polls to a high of #4, and has overtaken UCLA and a suddenly-resurgent Oregon team in the Pac-12 standings. More importantly, he has meshed very well with Lauri Markkanen, giving the Wildcats an inside-outside combination that only few Division I teams can match.
As Arizona goes on to the NCAA Tournament, the rest of the country should pause and take note of this kid’s play. Wherever he goes, the rest of the team goes. And we’re hoping they make it all the way to the final game in Glendale.