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Pac-12 Basketball Player Watch List: Allonzo Trier

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Trier missed about half of his sophomore season at Arizona due to suspension, but his talent could make him one of the best Pac-12 players in 2018.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s Pac-12 player to watch for in 2018 has the potential to be the conference player of the year while helping lead his team to a one seed. This player is none other than Allonzo Trier of the Arizona Wildcats.

In his sophomore year, Trier led Arizona in scoring with 17.2 points-per-game and was third in rebounds with 5.3 per game. In 18 games, he helped lead the Wildcats to a two seed and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.

Trier could have easily been a winner in some of the Pac-12 awards at the end of the year, were it not for an indefinite suspension that kept him sidelined for the first 19 games of the 2016-17 season. Trier was suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He won his appeal on the claim that he had no knowledge that he was given a PED while rehabbing from an injury, but was forced to sit out until the drug was completely out of his system. After re-joining the team in late January, Trier made sure his presence was felt immediately.

Trier scored in double figures in each of his first six games back, despite coming off the bench for five of those games. Then, after a couple of subpar games in which he scored below double-digits, he didn’t allow it to happen again for the rest of the season. Trier scored 20 points in five of his final ten games, and only scored below 15 once in that span. After returning from his suspension, Trier saw his role expand from his freshman year, and emerged as one of the best scorers in the Pac-12.

Trier can expect to see his role expand even further during the 2018 season. Even though Arizona has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, Trier will be relied upon for his veteran leadership. Trier had talent all around him last season with players such as Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins, and top 10 draft pick Lauri Markkanen, but Arizona’s roster will be even more stacked next year.

Sean Miller will surround Trier with Arizona’s usual crop of extremely talented prospects, such as top five recruit DeAndre Ayton and five-star wing Emmanuel Akot. These players have the potential to take a lot of the load off of Trier, but don’t expect him to allow that at all. Trier has already proven that he can be the top scorer on a loaded roster, and his younger teammates will realize this. Ayton an Akot may be talented enough to be one-and-done stars, but expect the ball to be in Trier’s hands down the stretch of a tight game.

Allonzo Trier was the subject of one of the most confusing stories of the 2017 season. The details of his suspension were not made public until around the time he was deemed eligible to return. A misunderstanding by Trier cost him half a season of his college career. He returned in shape and ready to show that he is one of the best players in the Pac-12 and he appears ready to do so again this year. If Trier plays the way he is capable of, expect him to be a contender for conference, or even national player of the year.