(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Arizona guard Allonzo Trier dreaded going out in public the first two months of the 2016-17 season. He’d wear hoodies to hide his face and sit in seclusion at the movies.
The Wildcats’ star sophomore was suspended for the first 19 games of the season for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs and admittedly grew frustrated.
“Very much so,” Trier said. “It was a very tough time. It wasn’t very easy for me and my family.
“It got to me at times. Mostly when I was alone. You’re kind of away from the game and you’re by yourself and just sitting in your room thinking, ‘Man I wish I could be playing. Will I ever play again?’ ... There’s really nothing you can do. It’s kind of a helpless feeling.”
Trier tried to stay around the game as much as possible, putting time in the gym and working on his game. When the suspension ended in late January, he was ready. Trier has averaged 17.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and shot 40.5 percent from 3-point range since _ all career-highs.
“Obviously you’re involved (with the team) ... but it’s kind of like you’re on the outside looking in,” Trier said. “And then with the way everything was with the media, it was like living in a glass house.”
No. 1-seeded Arizona faces No. 7 Saint Mary’s on Saturday evening in the second round of the West region. He scored 18 points and added six rebounds and three assists in the first-round win against North Dakota. Trier said he appreciates these opportunities more than ever.
“I prayed a lot to have the opportunity to play again and I don’t take the game for granted,” he said. “I never did because I worked extremely hard. I put my time in. My work ethic is really high. I believe in preparation to the highest level.
“I just really wanted the opportunity to do what I love. ... Every game I play I’m very thankful.”