There will be few Pac-12 players this season that will be as important to his team’s success than Arizona sophomore guard Allonzo Trier.
Last year’s Wildcat season was - what most would call - extremely underwhelming. One of the premier programs from this half decade under Sean Miller was upset by 11th-seeded Wichita State in the round of 64. It was the first time Arizona lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since the ‘07-08 season, under the direction of Kevin O’Neill.
Luckily for Miller and his coaching staff, Trier opted to stay in Tucson for a second season with the Wildcats, spurning a one-and-done opportunity to reach the NBA level. With this decision there is also added pressure on the former McDonald’s All-American. Arizona hauls in a major freshman class with Rawle Alkins, Kobi Jordan-Simmons and Lauri Markkanen, so Trier will be relied upon for veteran leadership despite playing in only one full season.
Let’s take a deeper look into what Trier brings to the table for the upcoming season. All stats used in this article are courtesy of KenPom.com and Sports Reference.
Trier is one of the most gifted offensive-minded guards in the country. His offensive efficiency rating of 116.7 was good for seventh in the Pac-12 this past season. The Seattle native recorded a modest possession percentage (23.3%) and shots attempted percentage (24.4%) his freshman year, but we can expect these numbers to rise this upcoming season.
When Trier connected on 53% or more of his field goal attempts, Arizona was undefeated (9-0) last season. Arizona was also 9-0 in games where Trier converted five or more field goal attempts. It’s fairly simple: When Trier is efficient, the Wildcats are tough to beat.
Trier’s glaring weakness coming into the college game was on the defensive side. Although Trier hasn’t been necessarily a liability on defense his first season (101.3 DRtg), he is still a very up-and-down defender.
Trier ranked 12th out of 13 Wildcats (Jacob Hazzard) in defensive box plus/minus this past season, a statistical estimate of the amount of points a given player contributed to his team over the course of 100 possessions. No Arizona player had a heavier box plus/minus weight on offense than Trier. Also, Trier’s STL+BLK% was just 1.9%, meaning that Trier forced a steal or block on just under two out of 100 possessions.
Trier had his moments on the defensive end a few times this last season, but there should be significant strides made by the consensus five-star recruit if UofA plans to make a deep run in March.
At 6-4, 190, Trier has never been counted on to be a force on the glass, but he does add some value regardless. Trier logged five games with six or more rebounds, including a career high of eight in the February matchup against Arizona State.
Trier’s defensive rebounding percentage of 10.9% is nothing to complain about - a mark that was higher than Gabe York (8.5%), Parker Jackson-Cartwright (7.0%) and even 6-9 forward Mark Tollefson (8.7%) this past season.
Coming off ball screens on the wing, Trier has a knack for drawing contact, which helps explain his 10.1 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. Trier ranked nationally in both fouls drawn and fouls committed per 40 minutes. Trier drew 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes (94 percentile) and committed just 2.8 fouls per 40 minutes (79 percentile). It is rare for a young player to have the control to not only initiate contact on the offensive side, but also defend without fouling on the other end.
I’m very excited to see what Trier will do in his second season with Arizona. This is a very talented team even with the losses of Gabe York, Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski. If anything else, Arizona will contend for another Pac-12 championship, and you can expect Allonzo Trier to play a major part in that title push.