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Trier's return comes as Arizona gets ready for chaotic road ahead

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Allonzo Trier (35) goes to dunk over Stanford's Reid Travis (22) during the second half of the Arizona-Stanford game on Thursday, March 1 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. Trier had 18 points and four assists to end the night.

Since arriving at Arizona in 2015, Arizona men’s basketball guard Allonzo Trier has missed a total of 28 games; that’s equivalent to almost an entire season. 

To say that the time Trier has missed has created roller coaster experience during his three years Arizona would be an understatement. The basketball star known as “Iso Zo” has had to be isolated from the game at some point in each of his three seasons as a Wildcat, watching from the sideline and wondering when he would be back on the court.

In his freshman year, Trier missed time due to a broken hand. Then, his sophomore year got cut in half due to a PED suspension. Trier could have bolted to the NBA in the summer of 2017, but decided to return to Arizona with one thing on his mind: a national championship.

For the first 27 games in the 2017-18 season, the 6-foot-5 guard looked every bit the player that could help Arizona break its Final Four drought. Averaging career highs in points per game, shooting percentage, and 3-point shooting, Trier was on the short list of college basketball players that could take over a game at any given moment. 

But all that got put on hold on Feb. 22 when the NCAA declared the junior indefinitely ineligible for testing positive for a banned substance, the same one that caused the suspension last year. 

Trier’s future at Arizona seamed bleak all the way up until just a few hours before Arizona faced Stanford. After all, it took the NCAA three months last season to clear Trier for play so it was possible Trier would never wear an Arizona uniform again. 

But on a day when Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins said Sean Miller would stay as Arizona’s head coach, the basketball gods granted another prayer.

The NCAA cleared Trier to return after a two-game absence and a deafening roar from the McKale crowd greeted him. Within the first minute of Thursday’s contest, Trier sunk a 3-pointer like he never even left.

“I’m back,” Trier yelled as the television camera zoomed in on the 22-year-old. 

On short notice, Trier churned out an 18-point, four assist night to boost Arizona to a 75-67 win over Stanford. The win gives Arizona a share of the Pac-12 regular season title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament.

“I can not imagine what was going through his mind before today’s game,” senior Dusan Ristic said. “He didn’t know if he was going to play maybe like two hours before the game.When we got the news that he’s cleared to play, then that brought more energy to our team and that’s what helped us win tonight.”

Moving forward, Arizona will have a giant chip on its shoulders after a week of being drug through the mud. March is here and that means tournament time. The coming weeks will present Arizona with another challenge to overcome: drowning out the chaos and focusing on playing basketball.

Whatever happens though, Trier will be there to lead the charge.


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