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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Versus: Stanley Johnson or Allonzo Trier?

Tyler Baker

Arizona guard Allonzo Trier (11) dunks against Chico State during the Wildcats’ exhibition game in McKale Center on Nov. 8. The five-star recruit came off the bench and tallied 13 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes.

Sean Miller hauls in a recruiting class every season that is highlighted by one player saddled with incredibly high expectations. All eyes this year will be set on one freshman and how the youngster can compete at the high standard set by Arizona basketball.

The year of Stanley Johnson was last season, and Miller always talked about how hard he coached the prolific guard. It showed considering Miller still gave him an earful due to lack of defense or simply being lazy on the transition, even when Johnson was performing well.

That being said, Johnson finished the season averaging just shy of 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Johnson didn’t just get it done offensively, though; his defensive drive was constantly overlooked because he was sharing the same court with the relentless Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

Johnson averaged 1.5 steals per game for Arizona and, standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing in at 245 pounds, the artist formerly known as “Stanimal” was a force to be reckoned with.

Johnson was a star in the making in his lone season at Arizona, and even when adversity hit when he was benched early in the season, he still managed to lead Miller to his first Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship and become the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft.

Every one of Miller’s freshman stars is always compared to the All-American from the previous season. It’s understandable that Allonzo Trier isn’t receiving the benefit of the doubt when compared to Johnson; the season hasn’t started. But Johnson’s ambition to win and become great was like no other player to walk through McKale Center.

Justin Spears

While Stanley Johnson did win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was an integral part to last season’s Elite Eight run, I expect Allonzo Trier to have a better freshman season, even if the numbers don’t end up saying so.

Our expectations for last year and for Johnson were tremendous and now, with this season’s team already flying under the radar, Arizona can ease Trier into his role instead of throwing him into the fire like they tried with Johnson.

Johnson was also Arizona’s only scorer last season, unless you include Brandon Ashley, so Johnson had to force the issue. That is not the case for this year’s team.

With Ryan Anderson, Gabe York, Kadeem Allen and an improved Kaleb Tarczewski, Trier can play in the flow of the offense and does not have to force shots like Johnson did.

Trier is also a much better shooter than Johnson was, so that should help widen the lanes for York, Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright and help the Wildcats against the daunting zones they have struggled against in conference play.

Sean Miller has coached Trier before with the USA Basketball U-19 team, so Trier should be a step ahead on the learning curve and is already talking Miller’s language with his efforts to “lock in” on defense—something Johnson had trouble with at times.

If the Wildcats are going to have any shot at a deep postseason run, they are going to need solid contributions from Trier, and while he may be a reserve now, he should be the top dog when conference play rolls around.

Ivan Leonard

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