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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Self inflicted wounds have Wildcats in odd spot

Rebecca Noble
Arizona center Chance Comanche leaps towards the basket in the slam dunk competition before the red and blue scrimmage at McKale Center on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016.

Arizona men’s basketball earned a “W” against the College of Idaho in its first exhibition game Tuesday night. But it was only a small victory considering one star player’s eligibility is in hiatus, one player is struggling with academics and another even retired.

Veterans Allonzo Trier, Chance Comanche and Ray Smith changed the future for Arizona basketball this season. Sure, the team will be able to depend on players like Dusan Ristic and Kobi Simmons, but a huge portion of the team is already unable to do its part for the team—and the regular season has yet to even start. 

Head coach Sean Miller continued to deny commenting on anything regarding Trier’s case. For now, all that can be noted is that Trier was with Comanche on the bench during the exhibition game sporting red polos instead of the new white uniforms. 

Comanche’s story is not one many people feel sympathy for. Miller benched him for being academically irresponsible, but announced Comanche should travel with the team and be available for its season opener against Michigan State in Hawaii on Friday. At a school that spends insane amounts of money on academic resources, especially for athletes, it almost seems unreasonable for players to be ineligible because of grades. 

Arizona forward Ray Smith’s retirement, however, was one many Wildcat fans sympathized with. It was Smith’s third ACL tear in as many years, as he went down once and bounced back on Tuesday, but it was not long until he limped back off the court. 

He announced his retirement from basketball via a note he wrote and posted on Twitter. Smith’s words were touching and his story is one that is difficult to hear, but respected. It is probably the smartest move he could have made. 

“He’s been doing what you saw for 22 practices—he’s landed, he’s jumped, he’s done everything everyone else has done,” Miller said. “He had no setbacks. We’re just going to have to depend on walk-ons and some guards.”

 Miller recognized the team will now be faced with some rebuilding and shuffling of players, but is confident that this year’s Wildcats will work even harder to be successful.

“I believe this year’s team has a chance to improve and grow as the year goes on because a lot of the people you’re asking me about just started,” Miller said.

Follow Mackenzie Swaney on Twitter.

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