In two seasons on the Arizona Wildcats roster —let’s not call it two seasons, because it hasn’t really been that —Allonzo Trier has played 1,332 minutes. That’s only a little bit more than North Carolina’s Justin Jackson lasted this past season alone.
So maybe it’s understandable that Trier decided he had unfinished business as a college basketball player and determined he would return to Arizona for his junior season in 2017-18 rather than enter the NBA Draft.
Trier made the decision Thursday, with a source telling ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Trier would return to the Wildcats and his mother telling Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star that Allonzo is “all-in” at Arizona.
"He is committed to bringing home a national championship," Marcie Trier told Pascoe by text. "He loves his teammates and his fans."
Trier and his teammates didn’t come as close as they’d hoped in 2017. The Wildcats were the No. 2 seed in the West Region but upset by No. 11 seed Xavier in the Sweet 16. That was after they’d shared the Pacific-12 Conference regular-season title with Oregon and defeated the Ducks in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.
Just as the end of the season was not ideal, the start was a nightmare for Trier. He was suspended by the NCAA after testing positive for a banned substance, which he said he took by accident following an offseason car accident. He was not allowed to resume competing until the substance was completely out of his system, which did not develop until Jan. 21 against UCLA. He missed 19 games.
Coach Sean Miller told Sporting News the day before the UCLA game the Trier matter had “been a partof my day every day since September.”
When Trier returned, it took time for the Wildcats to develop comfort in their rotation and in their offense, but he shot .391 from 3-point range and averaged 17.2 points. He struggled with his jumpshot in the NCAA Tournament, making only 5-of-17 from 3-point range. That was a factor in the team’s inability to break the Xavier zone.
Now, Trier will be a Wildcat until they lose their final game of the 2017-18 season —although they may not lose their final game. They are SN’s early choice as preseason No. 1., with Trier possibly joined by six of the team’s nine rotation players and a highly regarded recruiting class that includes the top prospect nationally, center DeAndre Ayton. Trier will be a candidate for first-team All-America honors.