The snapshot of last year’s exit from the NCAA tournament for Arizona was Lauri Markkanen helping roommate Allonzo Trier to his feet after Trier missed a 3-pointer in the waning seconds that could have potentially won the Sweet 16 game over Xavier.
Trier, who led Arizona with 19 points, became emotional realizing another opportunity for a Final Four berth eluded the No. 2-seeded Wildcats.
Arizona blew an 8-point lead to the Musketeers with three minutes left by allowing Sean Miller’s former program to score the last nine points of the game in the 73-71 loss at San Jose.
The Wildcats are back for another shot at winning it all with Trier in a different role. They begin that quest with a first round game against Buffalo tonight at Boise, Idaho.
Trier no longer is mostly looking for his shot. He has developed into a facilitator and scorer, backing up point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and allowing dynamic post player Deandre Ayton to do his thing.
“I continue to take what the defense gives me,” Trier said after Arizona’s 75-61 win over USC for the Pac-12 tournament title last week in Las Vegas.
Shot 50-40-90 in conference gettin 20pts and up a game the whole season but got took off the finalist list 🤷🏽♂️ been consistent all year and my body of work shows that but #OpinionsOverStatistics of course.
Trier had only nine points against the Trojans while taking six shots, but he had four assists with only one turnover in 35 minutes.
When asked about his different role of getting others involved as much — or maybe more — than looking for his own shot, Trier said, “It’s a different seat on the bus.”
“You know, with me maturing and understanding how to play the game. … I know I can still contribute to the team even though it’s not my night, even if it’s not about me taking a lot of shots. Me being a decoy is as big as anything.”
Trier still takes about an average of 11 shots a game, which is identical to last season’s average. He tried 4.8 3-point attempts a game last season. He’s at an average of 5.6 attempts this season.
A testament to Trier and his well-rounded development, engineered by Miller, is that even though he seems less of somebody who demands the ball, he really is not when looking at his number of shot attempts.
He can score 18.4 points a game while also being that “decoy,” as he claims, and Arizona will not skip a beat.