Arizona coach Sean Miller may be a bit biased, but he feels Allonzo Trier may be the best guard in the country right now.
As Miller has said “his numbers speak for themselves.” And in the case of Trier it has rarely gotten better than these: 32, 30 and 28. All are points in a game so far this season as UA moved to 3-0.
He’s possibly headed for an All-American type season – even if he’s a preseason All-American, Miller said.
On Thursday night, Trier made it look easy, working at maximum efficiency by hitting 8 of 9 shots, including 3 of 3 from the 3-point line. He went 9 of 12 from the 3-point line in Arizona’s 91-59 win over Cal State Bakersfield.
Trier was two points shy of becoming the first Arizona player to score at least 30 points in each of the first three games of the season. Trier and Deandre Ayton were removed with 4:37 left in the game.
“I didn’t know that,” Miller said about Trier’s numbers. “I wish I would have known that. But he didn’t miss three free throws, so …had I known I would have kept him in. And believe me he would have found a way to get two more points, I’m sure.”
Is there any doubt he wouldn’t have? Of course he would have.
“He makes it look easy,” Miller said as he began his press conference. “In fact, I’m surprised he missed his free throws. It may have cost him another 30-point game.”
The stat that jumped out at Miller was Trier’s four assists and one turnover and his passes were “great.”
“He’s at a place where I thought he would be,” Miller said.
That would be the corner of Good & Really Good. Or a happy place.
Trier was not made available on Thursday night. But others talked.
“Trier did what he did tonight … again,” Ayton said. “He could have had 33. He shot the ball well and passed the ball well. He’s a great scorer and he’s the best shooting guard in the NCAA right now.”
Arguably, Arizona may be one of the most efficient because of Trier. That’s one thing that Arizona has been – efficient.
“I loved way our guys moved the ball against the zone, the confidence,” Miller said. Sean Miller said. “We created great shots through team play. That’s been one of our early-season emphasis. We trying to be as comfortable as we can possibly be with changing defenses … We moved the ball well. (And) Allonzo makes us very efficient. Great offensive players make the team look good. Right now that’s how he’s playing.”
Arizona (3-0) looked in midseason form midway through the second half when it went on an 8-0 run via a pass-the-ball-around exhibition. Emmanuel Akot hit a 3-pointer to make it 65-41 with 11:49 left. It was Arizona’s sixth consecutive make to help put the game away.
“Our team chemistry is pretty good,” said Ayton. “We know how each other plays and now each other’s personalities.”
Arizona ended the half outscoring Bakersfield 20-7 in the final eight minutes.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 freshman, had one of his more non-descript games and still had his third consecutive double-double to begin the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“Everyone expects him to make things look easy,” Miller said. “There are going to be moments when he’s going to miss a couple of shots.”
“I’m glad it did,” Miller said. “He only had two points at the half. It was great to see where he missed a few shots behind him. He played an overall great second half.”
Ayton said his second half came from just playing through his tough first half.
He made a 3-pointer and things were rolling. He had 16 points in the second half.
“It felt good,” he said of the 3-pointer. “You’re going to see a lot of those.”
Arizona shot 61 percent from the floor.
“It was hard to guard those guys,” said CSUB coach Rod Barnes. “They have really good guys at every position. They’re patient and have good chemistry.”
Arizona signed F Shareef O’Neal to financial-aid papers. Last week, recruit Brandon Williams signed financial-aid papers to attend Arizona. Neither signing is binding but it constitutes Arizona’s early recruiting class in the wake of the on-going FBI investigation.
Miller said had Williams, who was out for the spring and summer with a leg issue, not been out he would likely be a McDonald’s All America his season. He’s “physically strong and can score. And can be a playmaker,” Miller said. “He can shoot the 3-point shot.”
Miller said Williams can come in and make an “immediate impact.”
O’Neal is Shaquille O’Neal’s son but they cannot be compared. “Shareef is very different,” Miller said. “He’s today’s version of a versatile forward, wing player. He’s very skilled and can shoot the 3-point shot.”
He’s that hybrid forward and in time he’ll be able to play that, Miller said. Miller said it will be important to build off of these two players for the future. It helps in part because it’s unclear what will happen with the FBI as it pertains to recruiting. Miller said he hopes to have class of five recruits.