Finally, he’s back.
Arizona Wildcats sophomore guard Allonzo Trier, who had yet to play in 2016-17, made his debut Saturday against the UCLA Bruins. The Arizona Daily Star’s Greg Hansen was first to report the news. The school confirmed it shortly after.
A statement from Arizona said the school was notified on Friday that Trier was cleared to play.
“The NCAA notified us on Friday afternoon that Allonzo Trier’s most recent drug test was negative. Therefore, he is eligible to return to the court immediately and will be available for our game against UCLA.”
On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Trier’s suspension, which had previously been kept a secret, was due to his failure of a September test for performance-enhancing drugs.
Trier released a statement through the school before deleting his personal Twitter account, which as of Friday night was reactivated.
“Earlier this season, I was notified that I tested positive for a trace amount of a banned performance-enhancing drug following an NCAA random test and I was shocked,” he said in the school’s release. “I have never knowingly taken a banned substance. After finding out that I was given a banned substance by a well-intentioned, but misguided person not associated with the University after an injury, I presented this information to the NCAA.”
Trier, who averaged 14.8 points as a freshman last season and was the team’s leading returning scorer, missed the first 19 games of the season as his Wildcats went 17-2.
The saga surrounding the 6-foot-5 guard, who decided to return to school for his sophomore season rather than jump to NBA, has been one of the more compelling storylines surrounding the No. 14 team in the country, which enters Thursday’s tilt with a 5-0 mark in the Pac-12.
When asked about Trier’s status prior to this week, Arizona head coach Sean Miller has offered different variations of responses that amounted to him saying he cannot divulge any information, which of course led to speculation. Now, the Wildcats have added a top scoring option to a team that has eyes on battling for the Pac-12 title and a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Without Trier, Arizona had been led in scoring by freshman forward Lauri Markkanen, who is averaging 16.7 points per game. Two other freshmen — Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons — are third and fourth on the team in scoring, at 11.9 and 11.8 points per game, respectively, while junior center Dusan Ristic has chipped in 12.2 points per game.
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