If you’re like me, you don’t really care about a Final Four without our Wildcats in it. But Arizona Basketball never stops and neither does PGU, so here’s a look at some of the new characters that will make their way into the 2015-16 story.
Allonzo Trier, 6-3 SG: We haven’t seen a scorer like Trier in quite some time. Capable of leading a team’s offensive output by himself, Trier is elite at getting buckets from anywhere on the court. He also has a solid frame for a college shooting guard and will earn his share of trips to the free throw line.
Out of Findlay Prep in Henderson, NV, Trier is the next in a long line of excellent players who have gone from Findlay to Arizona. He’ll be asked shoulder a significant scoring load from day one, a role he was born to play. Trier is the type of player to erupt for volcanic scoring explosions, so he’s sure to become a fan favorite before long.
Ray Smith, 6-8 G/F: Had it not been for an ACL tear during his senior season, Smith would have been one of the hottest names in high school basketball this year. But the irrepressible Smith has returned to form, and is poised to play a significant role on next year’s Arizona team.
Versatility is the name of the game for Smith, a true utility forward who has some guard skills as well. At 6-8 he can see over defenses and also exploit mismatches closer to the basket. Sean Miller has developed a reputation of utilizing multi-talented players at the wing (Solomon Hill, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson), so Smith is a natural fit for Arizona over the next few seasons.
If you haven’t already, check out Point Guard U’s mini documentary on Smith’s rehab:
Justin Simon, 6-4 G: If you’ve seen Simon play, you know he has length. With an incredible wingspan, Simon is a defensive terror who can also create angles on offense with his unique frame. An adept ball-handler and passer, Simon makes for an intriguing prospect as a potential 6-4 point guard.
Simon can play off the ball too, with his ability to get to the rim as a slasher. But Simon’s biggest contribution will likely be on defense, where he can guard multiple positions. Similarly to how Hollis-Jefferson and Nick Johnson were deployed against a variety of opponents, Simon could give Miller the same defensive flexibility at the guard position.
Chance Comanche, 6-10 C: Comanche has an opportunity to be one of the cornerstones of Arizona’s post over his career. He’ll likely remind a lot of fans of Channing Frye with his body type and outside shooting ability.
That outside shooting ability is what gives Comanche some serious upside. He already has an advanced shot and with his height there will be few defenders in the Pac-12 that can check him on the perimeter. But Comanche isn’t just a shooter, he has good athleticism and shot blocking instincts as well. As Comanche develops he should have All-Conference potential.
Ryan Anderson, 6-9 PF: You’ve seen him on the bench, but you probably don’t know much about former California Mr. Basketball Ryan Anderson. A transfer from Boston College, Anderson will play a significant role for the Wildcats after sitting out last season due to transfer rules.
A strong rebounder, Anderson is also a fundamental player who understands how to play the game. More than anything, Anderson’s experience in the practice setting during his transfer year will pay huge dividends for him and the team. In the same way that TJ McConnell gained immeasurable experience from sitting out a year, Anderson could provide the same kind of instant leadership.
Kadeem Allen, 6-3 SG: Another transfer, Allen comes from the junior college ranks and used a redshirt last season. He was a star at that stage, earning a national player of the year honor with triple-double upside.
At Arizona, Allen probably won’t be asked to do as much as he had to at the previous level. But that might actually make Allen a better player. Surrounded by talent, Allen will be free to do the things he does well, namely scoring, ball-handling, and providing toughness.