A lot is done to a team when its leading scorer goes down to injury. Morale weakens and team dynamics deteriorate. Plus, it’s devastating to the player himself.
Yet for the Arizona men’s basketball team, the offensive production has somewhat increased. At the same time, this team has suffered two losses without former leading scorer and guard Allonzo Trier, and could very well improve with him back in the starting lineup.
In the meantime, guard Gabe York and forward Ryan Anderson have leaped Trier in offensive efficiency, while he has been out with his right hand injury.
York has averaged 14.5 points per game and just last game, hit a career-high six 3-pointers . Anderson has continued to be the leader of the team in Trier’s absence, averaging a double-double of 15.2 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Nevertheless, Trier will be a game time decision to play against Washington State on Wednesday.
“We’re going to get Allonzo back, and I have my fingers crossed that we can be at full health for the first time other than for a brief period after Christmas,” head coach Sean Miller said. “With that, it gives our team a chance to be at their best.”
But if you are Trier, how could you not play? He’s originally from Seattle and the storyline of his return to his home state boasts big time.
“There’s a chance,” Miller said. “We’ll know more when he gets an X-ray before Wednesday. He would like to play. We’ll find out.”
Point Guard U confirmed that chance on Twitter, saying that Trier’s cast has been removed. In his place, Mark Tollefsen took over in the small forward starting role and has averaged eight points per game in that role.
Arizona has surely missed out on three main focuses of Trier’s game while he has been out.
While many have predicted and hoped that he returns for this week’s road games against Washington and Washington State, the only one who really has any say in the matter is Trier himself.
Constant scoring threat
Before falling to the injury, Trier was essentially one of the most explosive scorers on the team. He was able to hit fade away jumpers and knock down 3-pointers with ease. Zone defenses weren’t a problem with Trier on the floor and defenses constantly struggled in combating him.
But his most valuable asset was his ability to remain confident, even when he missed. Trier was rarely hesitant to shoot the ball and was a prolific free-throw shooter.
As the season went on, it was evident how much Trier had grown. His defensive skills had skyrocketed under Miller, who was always preaching to honor the process.
Things might not go as well at first, but Trier will most definitely improve, especially with his defense.
Potential to be great
I cannot even fathom playing a sport with a broken hand, let alone shooting a basketball with one. Trier did just that for more than 15 minutes of game time in the quadruple overtime loss to USC.
That says a lot about who Trier is as both a person and an athlete. It proves that he is willing to go the distance for his team and not let anything get in his way.
While some predict he will move onto the next level after this season, Trier has so much potential to continue to be great at Arizona for its second half of Pac-12 Conference play.
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