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How Zona Got Zo

August 4th, 2014 News 8 Comments

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Ace Thakore

How do you get an elite recruit to commit after only one official visit?

That was the question Sean Miller and his staff pondered over the spring and summer evaluation periods. And with 2015 scoring phenom Allonzo Trier committing to the Wildcats on Sunday, Miller clearly found the answer.

When Arizona offered Trier on June 6th, with Tyler Dorsey already committed, it was clear that Trier was the top priority at shooting guard for the 2015 class.

A week later, Miller had the luxury of coaching Trier on the U18 Team and immediately fell in love with his scoring ability. It was then that Miller hand picked Trier to become an Arizona Wildcat. Getting to see Trier compete versus the best players in his class was an advantage only USA basketball could offer.

Miller has been adamant that USA Basketball is not a recruiting tool, and that’s the truth. However, when you’re coaching a player you naturally build a relationship with them. And we all know that recruiting is all about relationships.

Zona loved Zo and Zo loved Zona. But getting him to commit was the next challenge. Schools often schedule the last official visit in a recruitment to play the role of closer. But in the case of Trier, Arizona wanted to close before Trier ever made an official visit.

In July, Arizona was relentless in their pursuit of Trier. During the first evaluation week in July, Trier decided to stay with his AAU team in Oklahoma to practice for Peach Jam. He was scheduled to be at the Lebron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas that week. So Miller flew from Las Vegas to Oklahoma to watch Trier that weekend. Arizona assistant coach Joe Pasternack was already in Oklahoma and watched Trier the day before and would watch him again with Miller. Meanwhile, Ray Smith was in Chicago with a torn acl and would pledge to the Wildcats that same weekend.

A lot was going on but no one was showing more attention to Trier than Arizona.

The following week Arizona would bring three coaches including Book Richardson to Peach Jam to watch Trier and a number of other Wildcat recruits. Arizona watched Trier the entire tournament, and it was becoming clear that Trier to Arizona was a mere formality. Here is the PGU interview with Allonzo Trier from Peach Jam.

Publicly, Trier wasn’t letting anyone know that he had a secret visit to Arizona planned during the first weekend in August. He didn’t even let other schools know because it was likely going to be a commitment visit. Something that no other school thought possible after only one visit since that’s not the norm for elite recruits. But Zona loved Zo, and Zo loved Zona. A relationship was built between Trier and the staff before he ever came to Tucson and that’s why his visit was more of a victory parade.

With the commitment of Trier, Arizona now has the #1 recruiting class in 2015. Trier will attend Findlay Prep for his senior season and will also be in attendance for the Red/Blue game in October.

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8 Responses to “How Zona Got Zo”

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  1. Palpalife

    August 4, 2014

    Boom! That’s how you do it! #BTFD

  2. jason goldstein

    August 4, 2014

    I’m really impressed with Sean Miller. He has totally remade the Arizona Basketball program. I was a student at the U of A in the golden years of Lute Olson right after Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr and right before Mike Bibby and Miles Simon. Old enough to remember the great championship and final four teams and the heartbreaking first round losses. Olsen was a great coach and certainly brought in high caliber talent, but what impressed me most about him was ability to win with a cast of players, many of which we’re not headed for NBA stardom. Yes, Olson’s teams had great players, but the guys that come to mind are blue collar types like Matt Muehlebach, Jud Buechler, and Tom Tolbert. Miller has been able to bring in the best blue chip players in the country, year after year. From the start, he has either recruited or developed lottery picks, from Derrick Williams to Aaron Gordon. Arizona hoops fans are very lucky to witness an evolving basketball tradition of such premier quality.

  3. john t.

    August 5, 2014

    There is no substitute for hard work — none. There are few feelings better than the euphoria of success accomplished by hard work and determination. Thank you coach Miller for setting the standard through your hard work and determination — actions always speak louder than words.

  4. keith brown

    August 5, 2014

    not only did Arizona get a quality player they got a quality kid. congrats to zona on their awesome recruiting and congrats to trier on a great commitment.

  5. MillerMadeUhisBiatch

    August 5, 2014

    Good story on the recruitment.

  6. George77wildcat

    August 10, 2014

    The five star blue chips are lining up for sean da man the master recruiter miller. He will surpass coach cal at Kentucky soon. Just got to get over the hump of the elite eight. Its been haunting miller. Zonas goal for this year is simple championship or BUST!!!

  7. delmar fuson

    August 13, 2014

    I love my wildcats n the recruits are the best that coach miller is going after n getting. My only queztion to cosch miller is……wats wrong with mike bibby jr.

  8. mvpreed2

    August 17, 2014

    One has to be impressed with the way Miller has been able to continue to recruit at such a high level and still be able to keep his team in tact by not having a lot of transfers.
    He has made it a point to lock down the West and bring the top players to Arizona and the fact that he is able to bring in kids from all over the nation as well shows that Arizona is back!

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