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Arizona basketball: Allonzo Trier among ESPN’s top-25 players

Arizona's Allonzo Trier, left, drives against Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Sean Miller’s 2016 recruiting class looks impressive even with McDonald’s All-American Terrance Ferguson’s decision to play pro ball in Australia rather than report to Tucson for a year.

But perhaps the Wildcats’ biggest victory came in the return of guard Allonzo Trier for his sophomore season.

ESPN’s John Gasaway certainly believes so. He called Trier the 24th-best player in the nation heading into the 2016-17 season.

The 6-foot-6 wing did his part as one of three preferred options on offense, alongside Ryan Anderson and Gabe York, and in that role, Trier hit his shots from both sides of the arc and took commendably good care of the ball. He is more than ready for the scoring responsibilities that will come his way, now that Anderson and York have both departed.

Trier averaged 14.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists as a freshman while shooting 47 percent overall and 36 percent from three-point range. His effectiveness shooting decently from three and very well at the rim was only more impressive considering his ability to shoot 5.4 free throws per game and make 79 percent.

In short, he was efficient and used his possessions well despite not dominating the ball.

The effectiveness in that role and the low-turnover rate will be important again considering he’ll be splitting the opportunities with freshmen Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins and Lauri Markkanen and returning players like Ray Smith, Kadeem Allen, Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic.

Defensively, Trier also took steps forward, especially in the 2015-16 postseason.

Putting that together, there’s a good chance he will only improve across the board despite Arizona rolling out a younger, maybe even more talented team compared to a year ago.

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