Arizona Basketball

How will Miller distribute minutes with Trier’s return to Arizona Wildcats?


Now that all the rumors about his eligibility have thankfully come to an end, it’s time for Allonzo Trier to play basketball.

“Time” is an appropriate word.

He is running out of time: Only 12 regular season games remain for the Arizona Wildcats.

Sean Miller must find time for Trier in the rotation.

Sacrifices must be made by others who are accustomed to playing at least 30 minutes a game, namely Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons, and, to a degree, Kadeem Allen.

Those three players share Trier’s position the most on the court on the wing and at shooting guard.

Can you imagine if the retired Ray Smith was playing at the wing? Miller might have petitioned the NCAA to allow six players on the court.

Alkins, Simmons and Allen play an average of 91.3 of the 200 minutes allotted in a game, a significant chunk of 45.7 percent of the playing time.

How’s that Paul McCartney song go? Someone’s knockin’ at the door. Somebody’s ringin’ the bell. Do me a favor, open the door and let ’em in.

Miller did not sing that to his players after Arizona’s practice at Pauley Pavilion Friday night, but his objective is to execute a harmonious inclusion of Trier starting against UCLA on Saturday.

This is how the minutes distribution might break down if Miller does not alter how much Lauri Markkanen, Dusan Ristic and Parker Jackson-Cartwright play (the estimate is for down the road after Trier is established into the rotation):

Kadeem Allen — 28 minutes a game

Allonzo Trier — 27

Rawle Alkins — 25

Kobi Simmons — 21

Chance Comanche — 13

Keanu Pinder — 10

That is roughly 124 minutes, what Allen, Alkins, Simmons, Comanche and Pinder are averaging now combined.

The approximate minute drop-off for each existing player:

Allen — minus-2

Alkins — minus-6

Simmons — minus-9

Comanche — minus-5

Pinder — minus-5

The player affected the most is Simmons, a freshman who needs more time to develop and will continue to do so. Alkins will also be affected. But remember, these are averages. Some games Alkins might play into the 30-minute range. Others, he may play in the low 20’s.

What all of these players must buy into with Trier returning: None will be 35-minutes-a-game players. None will be 30 a game.

They have already bought in. Markkanen is a surefire NBA prospect and he averages 31.3 minutes a game. That means he plays a little more than 75 percent of the time, not 85 percent or 90. That’s a huge sacrifice right there. In other programs, he would average 36 or 37 minutes a game. Miller is more about balance.

Here is the minutes break down presently with scoring average:

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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