Allonzo Trier

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Associated Press

Depth, guard play make the difference for No. 12 Arizona

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TUCSON, Arizona — After winning 35 games and reaching the Elite Eight last season, No. 12 Arizona had to address the fact that four starters from that team had moved on.

And with three of those players currently in the NBA, addressing those losses would not be a simple task for Sean Miller and his coaching staff. But what will help in that quest is Arizona’s depth, and that attribute was on display Thursday night as they beat Boise State 88-76 in an unbracketed game in the Wooden Legacy.

On a night that saw senior center Kaleb Tarczewski account for just four points and nine rebounds and Ryan Anderson (15 rebounds) finish with only eight points on 4-for-13 shooting, other players managed to step forward. Dusan Ristic gave the Wildcats a valuable eight points and five rebounds off the bench, and Arizona’s guards stepped forward on both ends of the floor as well.

Of those perimeter players Gabe York led the way, scoring his 23 points (7-for-12 FG) on multiple levels and being a tough cover for Boise State’s guards. But the looks York managed to connect on would not have been present without the help of his teammates.

“Everyone did a great job of trying to find me, and when I took a bad shot, no one was upset because I think I shot the ball pretty well tonight,” York said after the game. “Parker (Jackson-Cartwright) found me a lot in transition. Kadeem (Allen) did a great job of finding me, and I was able to knock down shots.”

The 6-foot-3 senior guard is a prime example of what can happen when a player sticks to the process, steadily honing his skills and earning more playing time ahead of a final campaign in which the opportunities to score would be plentiful. After averaging 9.2 points per game as a junior York entered Thursday’s game as one of four Wildcats in double figures, and his performance was one reason why Arizona was able to gain some separation in the second half as the visiting Broncos became stagnant offensively.

York was one of four guards to finish the game in double figures Thursday night, but it could be argued that the most important of those contributions (with an eye towards the future) came from Jackson-Cartwright and Allen.

Those two have the difficult task of stepping into the lead guard role left vacant by the departure of McConnell, who was a floor general in every sense of the phrase. But for Arizona to be successful they don’t have to be McConnell, because Allen and Jackson-Cartwright’s respective games differ from the current Philadelphia 76er.

Against Boise State Jackson-Cartwright provided the early spark, coming off the bench to score 12 of his 14 points in the first half and providing a much-needed supplement to York’s offensive output. Allen grabbed the baton in the second half, tallying eight points (he finished with ten) and five assists (six for the game) with just one turnover. Add in Trier scoring 11 of his 13 in the second half, and Arizona had enough production to hold off Boise State’s two-headed front court monster of James Webb III (27 points, nine rebounds) and Nick Duncan (21 points).

“Parker was a big reason we won the game and so was Alonzo,” Miller said. “I talked to both guys after the game…I was disappointed in the way we finished the game with both of them in, because in my opinion if we didn’t have the performance from either one of them we would not have been in the winner’s circle.”

It is early in the season, but it’s apparent that instead of having that single stalwart to call upon at the point Arizona has two players capable of shepherding the team. Before the season began Allen was labeled by some as the “scoring” point guard with Jackson-Cartwright filling the role of distributor. But Thursday night both showed the ability to do things outside of the labels affixed to them, and that can only benefit the Wildcats moving forward.

“(Kadeem) makes me better every day, and I try to do the same with him,” Jackson-Cartwright said. “He is a bigger, stronger guard. He can get into the pain as well as shoot. Going against him every day has been tremendous in making me better.”

On a night in which their leading scorer entering the game shot 4-f0r-13 from the field, Arizona managed to shoot better than 54 percent from the field and 10-for-21 from beyond the arc. Add in a 38-3 edge in bench points, and it’s easy to see why the Wildcats were able to pull away from a game Boise State squad.

At this point in time Arizona may not have the decisive answers at some positions that are generally demanded in college basketball, but they do have a lot of options. And that’s a good “issue” to have if you’re Sean Miller.

VIDEO: Mixtape of Arizona freshman Allonzo Trier

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Arizona freshman guard Allonzo Trier is entering the program with a lot of hype after being named a McDonald’s All-American and five-star prospect.

With the loss of perimeter options like T.J. McConnell and Stanley Johnson from last year’s Elite Eight team, Trier could be counted on to be a perimeter scoring option nearly right away. Here’s some highlights of the 6-foot-4 Trier from his senior season at Findlay Prep.

(H/T: Courtside Films)

United States U19 team rolls past Argentina at FIBA World Championships

Harry Giles (Getty Images)
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Another game, and another comfortable victory for the United States at the FIBA U19 World Championships in Greece.

In 17 minutes of action off the bench, 2016 forward Harry Giles accounted for 17 points and 12 rebounds to help lead Sean Miller’s team to a 93-45 win over Argentina in the Round of 16. Giles was one of three Americans to score in double figures, with fellow 2016 prospect Jayson Tatum adding 14 points and Arizona incoming freshman Allonzo Trier tallying 13.

Villanova freshman Jalen Brunson was next in line with nine points while also dishing out six assists.

All 12 American scored at least two points, and as a team they shot 58.1 percent from the field while limiting Argentina to 21 percent shooting. The game wasn’t the cleanest as the two teams combined to commit 49 turnovers (the United States had 26), but Miller’s team was far better at converting those opportunities into points.

The United States converted Argentina turnovers into 20 points, which was good enough for a 16-point advantage in that category. Add in a 48-14 advantage in points in the paint, and the final margin of victory comes as no surprise. Next up for the United States is Italy on Friday, which beat the Dominican Republic Wednesday.

The Americans could run into hosts Greece in the semifinals, a team that includes Oregon freshman Tyler Dorsey (who scored 28 points Wednesday) and highly regarded 7-footer Georgios Papagiannis. However the Greeks will have to take care of Spain in order to uphold their end of the bargain when it comes to a possible matchup with the United States.

Diallo claims another MVP at Jordan Brand Classic but Briscoe wins the crowd

2015 Jordan Brand Classic
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NEW YORK – The 14th annual Jordan Brand Classic marked the end of a hectic few weeks for the top talent across high school basketball, as the West team topped the East, 118-116.

In a night that combined an unwavering pace with an abundance of jaw-dropping athleticism, here were the top stories:

Cheick Diallo adds another MVP to his trophy case

The Jordan Brand Classic was the cherry on top of a monster month for Diallo. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Centereach, N.Y., was named MVP of the East squad, pouring in 26 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Diallo was able to once again put his full offensive arsenal on display, showing a great touch around the bucket, as well as the ability to get out in transition.

The latest piece of hardware will have a spot next to the McDonald’s MVP Diallo won earlier in the month, also accompanied by a win at the Nike Hoop Summit. Diallo was one of three remaining undeclared players in the Jordan game and is scheduled for an in-home visit with Chris Mullin and St. John’s on Saturday, who is competing with Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa State and Pittsburgh for the coveted big man’s signature.

Welcome to the Isaiah Briscoe Show

With about five minutes remaining in the game, Briscoe, a New York product who went to high school in New Jersey, banged a three that was like a shot of adrenaline to the Brooklyn crowd. From then on, each time the ball found its way into Briscoe’s hands – which it did basically every possession – the walls of the Barclays Center were hit with an ear-splitting roar.

“That’s New York basketball,” Briscoe said when asked about the atmosphere. “Everywhere you go, every gym you play in, that’s New York basketball. They want to see people go at it. They want to see people compete.”

Briscoe, who is headed to Kentucky next season, repeatedly put himself in isolation situations, as he and LSU commit Antonio Blakeney traded one-on-one punches on several consecutive possessions. After shaking Blakeney with a particularly silky spin move and touching it off the glass, fans were fully invested in the Briscoe pageantry. Ultimately the one-man wrecking crew fell short, but Briscoe finished with 22 points after a sub-par first half and won over the crowd with a gladiator-like effort.

“I’m no stranger to a big crowd,” Briscoe said. “I feed off all of that, as you can see.”

The exodus of Wildcats out of the Bluegrass and toward the bright lights of the NBA has left Kentucky rather thin on the perimeter. Briscoe will be counted on to provide an immediate impact and it will be interesting to see how he meshes alongside point guard Tyler Ulis. Either way, it should be a nice problem to have for John Calipari.

Allonzo Trier gets buckets, basically whenever he wants

Trier collected MVP honors for the West squad, dropping in 28 points on 8-10 shooting. The 6-foot-4 guard from Henderson, Nev., shoved himself behind the wheel for Kevin Boyle’s team in the second half, willing his way into the paint and either converting at the rim or earning a trip to the charity stripe. With his quickness and athleticism, Trier is a migraine-inducing offensive weapon that is near impossible to guard one-on-one.

Setting up camp in Tucson, Ariz., next season, Trier will need to help patch up the offensive holes left behind by a slew of departed Wildcats. With Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley gone, and Stanley Johnson potentially joining them, Trier could easily become the focal point of Sean Miller’s offense in his inaugural campaign.

Brewster Academy sweeps Regional MVPs

Quickly finding the mold of a traditional all-star game, the Jordan Brand Classic Regional game turned into a 40-minute track meet that was played almost exclusively above the rim. Brewster Academy teammates Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Adams took center stage, reeling in MVPs for their respective teams.

“A lot of people don’t know Brewster Academy, so we were just talking about going out and putting Brewster on the map in a bigger way,” Mitchell said. “We just said to ourselves that we were going to go out and impact the game in different ways.”

The Louisville-bound Mitchell put together enough footage for his own Jordan Brand dunk highlight reel plus bonus features. The 6-foot-2 guard led all scorers with 30 points and nearly brought the house down in the first half after capping off a spin move with a thundering dunk.

Adams, an electric point guard who is committed to Kevin Ollie and UConn, put on a show of his own, scoring 27 points for the winning squad.

Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere lead World past USA at Nike Hoop Summit

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One year after the United States Select Team managed to end a two-year losing streak at the Nike Hoop Summit, Roy Rana’s World Team won for the third time in the last four years Saturday afternoon in Portland, Oregon. Canadian Jamal Murray, playing in the event for a second consecutive year, scored 30 points to lead the World to a 103-101 win over the United States.

Murray, who’s currently a member of the Class of 2016 but is still considering the possibility of reclassifying to 2015, shot 12-for-23 from the field and also dished out five assists in 27 minutes of action. Also playing well for the World team were two forwards who will be playing in the SEC next season, Skal Labissiere and Ben Simmons.

Labissiere, who has committed to Kentucky, scored 21 points (9-for-16 FG) and grabbed six rebounds. As for Simmons, the top-ranked player in the Class of 2015 who will attend LSU next year flirted with a triple-double, finishing the game with 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. The length and athleticism of Simmons, Labissiere, fellow 2015 big man Cheick Diallo (12 points, eight rebounds) and 2016 big Thon Maker (ten rebounds) impacted the United States in the early going as the World team scored the first 14 points of the game.

The United States recovered from the slow start, with Duke commit Luke Kennard leading the way offensively with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting and five rebounds. Four other players scored in double figures for the United States, with Villanova commit Jalen Brunson (seven assists) and undecided 2015 wing Brandon Ingram scoring 12 apiece, Arizona commit Allonzo Trier adding 11 and undecided 2015 guard Malik Newman ten points.

Kentucky commit Isaiah Briscoe led all players with nine assists while also scoring nine points.

Cheick Diallo leads East to McDonald’s All-American Game victory

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Twenty-four of the top players in the Class of 2015 took the United Center court in Chicago in the 38th annual McDonald’s All American Game, and one of the event’s eight uncommitted players took home MVP honors.

Cheick Diallo, who attends Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York and is still considering Kentucky, St. John’s, Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Kansas, accounted for 18 points and ten rebounds as the East won 111-91. The 6-foot-9 Diallo is one of the best defenders and rebounders in the class, and he has a high motor as well.

He was one of five double-digit scorers for the East, with Antonio Blakeney (LSU commit) and Diamond Stone (Maryland commit) scoring 14 apiece, Florida State commit Dwayne Bacon adding 12 and Kentucky commit Isaiah Briscoe 11. Diallo was one of two East players who grabbed ten rebounds, with LSU commit Ben Simmons being the other.

Allonzo Trier, who’s headed to Arizona next season, led four West players in double figures with 17 points. Also in double figures were Brandon Ingram (15 points; undecided), P.J. Dozier (14 points; South Carolina commit) and Ivan Rabb (ten points; undecided).