[ {"id":"afd446ac-def3-11e6-a8d1-f36d6f80a4c5","type":"article","starttime":"1484904840","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-20T02:34:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484906536","priority":45,"sections":[{"pascoe":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"UA-USC postgame: On Trier's testing schedule, defensive slippage and Alkins' frustration","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/article_afd446ac-def3-11e6-a8d1-f36d6f80a4c5.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/ua-usc-postgame-on-trier-s-testing-schedule-defensive-slippage/article_afd446ac-def3-11e6-a8d1-f36d6f80a4c5.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/ua-usc-postgame-on-trier-s-testing-schedule-defensive-slippage/article_afd446ac-def3-11e6-a8d1-f36d6f80a4c5.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Allonzo Trier won't be tested again until next week, a Pac-12 Networks broadcaster said.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats basketball","allonzo trier","sean miller","rawle alkins"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#toptwo","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"0eff1290-dec9-11e6-929c-0b90e672c8a4","description":"Arizona Wildcats guard Allonzo Trier, center, sits with teammates Chance Comanche, left, and Lauri Markkanen before the Wildcats take on USC at the Galen Center on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.\u00a0Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","byline":"Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"448","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ef/0eff1290-dec9-11e6-929c-0b90e672c8a4/5881926fbbe2a.image.jpg?resize=620%2C448"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ef/0eff1290-dec9-11e6-929c-0b90e672c8a4/5881926fbbe2a.image.jpg?crop=1080%2C607%2C0%2C0&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ef/0eff1290-dec9-11e6-929c-0b90e672c8a4/5881926fbbe2a.image.jpg?crop=1080%2C607%2C0%2C0&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/ef/0eff1290-dec9-11e6-929c-0b90e672c8a4/5881926fbbe2a.image.jpg?crop=1080%2C607%2C0%2C0&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":25,"commentID":"afd446ac-def3-11e6-a8d1-f36d6f80a4c5","body":"

LOS ANGELES \u2013 Allonzo Trier has a drug testing schedule of every 7-10 days and won\u2019t be tested again until next week, according to the Pac-12 Networks\u2019 Lewis Johnson, meaning he\u2019ll be out again on Saturday when the Wildcats play at UCLA.

Johnson revealed the testing schedule during Thursday\u2019s UA-USC broadcast.

However, when I asked UA coach Sean Miller after Thursday's game if he knew of a testing schedule now that Johnson had mentioned one, Miller said \"we don't.\"

Miller went on to say that he can\u2019t comment further as per the UA statement quoting Trier saying he has asked UA not to say anything further.

The statement did not say what drug Trier took, what the injury was he sustained that prompted him to take it, how and by whom it was administered and how often he is being tested.

Kevin O'Neill is\u00a0among those wondering\u00a0about what has been in Trier's system so long.

The Wildcats won their 11th straight game and improved to 17-2 on Thursday, yet exited their Galen Center locker room in a manner that suggested they lost. Dusan Ristic said they had an extended conversation after the game about letting down in the second half.

Miller offered a version of the same talk with the media afterward, having seen his defense give up 50 percent or more shooting in the second half for the third straight game.

Texas A&M, Colorado, ASU and now USC have all outscored the Wildcats in the second half while preventing UA from running away from those games.

\u201cThis isn\u2019t the first time a team went on a 30-11 run,\u201d Miller said. \u201cI think it\u2019s about the sixth time. We\u2019ve hung on like this a number of times and it\u2019s really a bad sign because as thrilled as we are to win -- they\u2019re a quality team -- if you just continue to see guys go on a 40-10, 30-8, 20-0, 16-2 run you have to address it as a coach and what I\u2019m gonna start doing is sitting a couple of guys and then everybody\u2019s going to know he\u2019s not giving effort, he\u2019s not playing hard enough.

\u201cBecause the one thing you can control as a team is your effort level. We gave up on our effort level too many times in the second half \u2026 we should be like 10-9 (with this problem). We\u2019re 17-2 and we give up these runs. So we don\u2019t have time to talk a lot about it because we\u2019re playing UCLA at 1 o\u2019clock, but if we do that against UCLA they will beat us by 30 points. That\u2019s one thing I do know.\u201d

You know something\u2019s really bugging Miller when he fields a question about something completely different and transitions into the topic that he's not happy about.

Here\u2019s how he responded to a question about whether it was a focus to get Lauri Markkanen the ball in crucial moments:

\u201cYou have to really be a bad coach to not give him the ball in critical moments just because he\u2019s a great free throw shooter, a really good 3-point shooter, and from a decision-making standpoint, he rarely turns it over, and he\u2019s physical,\u201d Miller said. \"He can score from two. It\u2019s smart to put him in position to have the ball.

\u201cThere are some other guys who can certainly deliver. I really wasn\u2019t worried about our offense. Our offense was better in the second half than in the first. We got the ball inside more than we got to the foul line more. We attacked their zone with much more confidence. But while we were doing that, they went on the run they did in large part because if you don't defend them with your heart and soul being connected together they\u2019re too good of a team.

\u201cThey\u2019re too well coached, they have too many good players and they\u2019re gonna make a run. And, again, if I\u2019m only talking about one team, it\u2019s not going to be a problem. I can name seven teams, eight, maybe nine, where we might have been up 20, 10. When you\u2019re on the road up 21, a lot of good things are happening. To make that come down to a one-possession game for about the seventh or eighth time is beyond concerning and we have to address it.

\u201cWhen we have a big lead, we pull off the accelerator. We don\u2019t have 11 guys who are playing right now so we\u2019re kind of at the mercy of a guy saying, `Hey, look you have to finish, you have to be the same guy you were in the first half.' Tonight we had a hard time again and we did the exact same thing against Arizona State. We gotta move on to UCLA but UCLA may be the team to really teach us a lesson abut how important it is to be in the game for 40 minute because they\u2019re so good on offense.\u201d

Rawle Alkins hit 3 of 6 3-pointers and added a block and a steal, but still had moments of frustration Thursday. He shot 3 for 11 from the field, with four rebounds and three turnovers to his two assists.

\u201cI think he got a little down because he had some layups and finishes that he missed and he\u2019s missed a couple here in the last couple of games,\u201d Miller said. \u201cI think sometimes when you\u2019re a young player like that you can let it bother you, and I\u2019m telling him we wouldn\u2019t be 17-2 without him.

\u201cThen there are some things he can learn from. (As with) Kobi (Simmons) and Lauri, I know it\u2019s well documented, but they mean a lot to our team, sometimes it\u2019s actually not fair. They\u2019re almost not allowed to be freshman. You have to treat them as a senior. Because the role they have on our team is that. That\u2019s part of what I\u2019m talking about.\u201d

Hard to say Markkanen\u2019s 23 point on 8-for-12 shooting had anything to do with his new hairstyle, which featured a buzz cut on the sides with short curls on top.

After all, Markkanen had 30 on 12-for-18 shooting against ASU.

What it was about: The old look \"was getting out of hand,\u201d Markkanen said.

Isaac Hamilton made nine 3-pointers to help UCLA rout ASU 102-88.

Oregon's Dillon Brooks missed the entire second half of the Ducks' win over Cal, and Oregon wouldn't say if he might have reinjured his foot.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be honored at the UA-UCLA game for receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom

"}, {"id":"88ea834a-deac-11e6-8151-93ff997d18c7","type":"article","starttime":"1484874300","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-19T18:05:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484879842","priority":45,"sections":[{"pascoe":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe"},{"basketball":"sports/arizonawildcats/basketball"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona Wildcats guard Allonzo Trier to miss Thursday's game","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/article_88ea834a-deac-11e6-8151-93ff997d18c7.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-wildcats-guard-allonzo-trier-to-miss-thursday-s-game/article_88ea834a-deac-11e6-8151-93ff997d18c7.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/basketball/pascoe/arizona-wildcats-guard-allonzo-trier-to-miss-thursday-s-game/article_88ea834a-deac-11e6-8151-93ff997d18c7.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"LOS ANGELES \u2014 Arizona guard Allonzo Trier will not play tonight in the Wildcats' game at USC because of his ongoing NCAA suspension for a positive PED test. Trier said in a statement on Wednesday that he won't be able to play until a test shows that the substance is completely out of his system, and that he didn't know when that might be.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["arizona wildcats basketball","allonzo trier"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#toptwo"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622","description":"Allonzo Trier takes a jump shot during early warmups before the Arizona Wildcats face USC, but he won't play in the game because of his ongoing suspension.","byline":"Bruce Pascoe","hireswidth":1200,"hiresheight":675,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/28/22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622/5881639a0a231.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"349","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/28/22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622/5881639a09032.image.jpg?resize=620%2C349"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/28/22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622/5881639a09032.image.jpg?resize=100%2C56"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/28/22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622/5881639a09032.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/28/22824268-dead-11e6-9904-8b15e6f4b622/5881639a09032.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C576"}}}],"revision":11,"commentID":"88ea834a-deac-11e6-8151-93ff997d18c7","body":"

LOS ANGELES \u2014 Arizona guard Allonzo Trier will not play tonight in the Wildcats' game at USC because of his ongoing NCAA suspension for a positive PED test.

Trier said in a statement on Wednesday that he won't be able to play until a test shows that the substance is completely out of his system, and that he didn't know when that might be.

This will be the 19th game Trier has missed this season. Trier's statement said he unknowingly was administered a banned substance after suffering an offseason injury, and he was tested before the season.

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Among the many questions still remaining about Allonzo Trier is whether his PED-related suspension will affect his NBA stock.

Trier wasn\u2019t a surefire NBA first-round pick last spring when he opted to return as a sophomore, and he\u2019s now sitting at No. 57 in Draft Express\u2019 latest mock 2017 draft. That isn\u2019t upward momentum.

What if Trier was the Wildcats\u2019 leading scorer? Half of a 1-2 punch with projected lottery pick Lauri Markkanen? What\u00a0if Trier hit a game-winner to beat Butler at the buzzer, and the Wildcats were now 17-1 and ranked in the Top 5?

\u201cI think the fact that he isn\u2019t playing affects him,\u201d Draft Express president Jonathan Givony said Thursday. \u201cAnytime he\u2019s on sidelines and not helping his team it\u2019s not going to improve his stock. \u2026 He never was considered a lottery-level prospect so anytime you sit out more than half a season it isn\u2019t going to help you.\u201d

While some NBA scouts have indicated to the Star they aren\u2019t overly concerned about the use of a PED itself by Trier \u2014 in part because he isn't on the lottery radar at this point \u2014 Givony said it\u2019s not possible to tell exactly if it will affect him because there isn\u2019t enough information.

\u201cI think the details really matter of what he took, who gave it to him, and what were the circumstances,\u201d Givony said.

So who did give it to him? How did he get that injury in the offseason? And what drug did he take that\u2019s still lurking in his system some four months after he first tested positive?

There has been considerable speculation over every one of those questions, of course. And they are all questions Trier will have to answer before he gets to an NBA Draft, whether publicly or in interviews with NBA teams.\u00a0

One common question now is why didn\u2019t Trier say anything already? Wouldn\u2019t have his story about trying to recover from an offseason injury have at least partially quashed notions that he was trying to gain a competitive edge in games?

Trier\u2019s story about PED use was already pretty well known in college basketball and NBA circles by November, and he was conditionally cleared to return pending a clean test. He also made it clear he was not administered the drug by a UA staffer, though that in and of itself is no excuse.

Theoretically, Trier has had the right to address all that and more at any point. After all, student privacy rules only bind those around the student, not the actual student.

Trier could have spoken at any time, though Arizona has not made him available for interviews since September, subbed him out of Pac-12 media day in October and did not respond to the Star's request for an interview.\u00a0

UA and the NCAA steadfastly declined comment while Trier remained unavailable, creating a storm of rumors and speculation that grew as the season went on (similar to the way the Elliott Pitts situation did last season, except that Trier is even more high profile). We have published numerous stories detailing as much as possible about Trier's situation within our policy of avoiding unnamed sources in print, and the story has gained considerable local and national attention.

An ESPN roundtable pegged Trier as the No. 1 disappointment in college basketball, in large part because of Arizona's lack of transparency. Finally, on Wednesday night, Jeff Goodman\u2019s ESPN.com story detailing Trier's use of a PED and need to test clean prompted Trier to make a statement through the school.

Trier\u2019s statement (attached to this post as a photo, if you click on the arrow in the Trier-Markkanen photo) said he won\u2019t comment further at this point, and that he has asked the UA athletic department not to release any more information, which means there will still be rumors swirling.

And while Trier said he is unsure of whether he\u2019ll test clean and be able to play, there also is no mention of how often he is tested\u2026 so, in many ways, no telling when or if he comes back this season.

He's in largely the same place. And so is everybody else.

BTW, the NCAA says it does not publish a comprehensive list of all banned drugs, but posts examples here. That list and the NCAA's drug-testing guide are attached as PDFs.

Stories in the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register\u00a0detailed how\u00a0USC found its four-overtime win against Arizona last season something of a tide-turning event. Certainly, it appeared to be a big one for the Andy Enfield era.

However, Elijah Stewart's remark of Arizona that \"by tradition they just come in here and wreck shop\" hasn't really been true lately.

Arizona has only won two of six games at USC under Miller. Historically, USC has been troublesome for the Wildcats in the same way that Oregon State has been \u2013 perceived as the easier opponent of a two-game swing, usually with a smaller crowd and duller atmosphere \u2026 yet fully capable of winning.

Maybe it will help the Wildcats this time that UA coach Sean Miller has been reminding them of how tough USC is, while the memory of last season\u2019s thriller is no doubt still in the heads of the returning UA players.

Plus, Miller said his players know on their own why they should be motivated.

\u201cCollege players know when other college players are good,\u201d Miller said. \u201cThey know who\u2019s on USC\u2019s roster. Our players respect them a ton, and they should.\u201d

Miller said Chimezie Metu\u2019s first-half play and USC\u2019s poise struck him in reviewing how the Trojans beat Colorado 71-68 last Saturday,

\u201cMetu took over, him having 21 in one (first) half that\u2019s all you have to say,\u201d Miller said. \u201cThey weathered Colorado\u2019s lead in the first half because of him, and they\u2019re a poised team. They\u2019re in their third year (with guys who have) had big roles in their first two years.

\u201cI love Jordan McLaughlin\u2019s game as a point guard. He probably has as much meaning to his team as anyone we\u2019ve faced. He makes great decisions. He can score. When he\u2019s going well, it just seems like his team is going well. Elijah Stewart is in his third year and he hurt us badly last year, and they have one of the best freshmen in the conference in (De\u2019Anthony) Melson. You add Bennie Boatwright to their team and they\u2019re even better.\u201d

Boatwright won\u2019t be playing tonight with a knee sprain, however. Enfield told the Times he's hoping Boatwright can return to practice soon.

Bob Elliott will be Arizona's inductee this year into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.

Miller and assistant Mark Phelps went to see 2018 target David Singleton after arriving Wednesday.

Our full advance coverage is attached to this post.

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Suspended Arizona Wildcats guard Allonzo Trier said Wednesday night he was \"shocked\" to have tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug, and remains unsure when he will play again because the drug must be completely out of his system.

Trier was responding via a UA statement to an ESPN.com story citing unnamed sources that said\u00a0he tested positive for a PED in September and won an appeal, but that the NCAA hasn't allowed him to play until the drug is completely out of his system.

Trier, who has not been made available for comment since September, suffered an off-court injury last offseason and said the drug was administered as part of his recovery.

Trier's statement read:

\"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. 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. The NCAA agreed that I had no knowledge of receiving the substance and my eligibility was restored. Although I can practice and travel with the team, I am not allowed to resume playing in games until the substance completely leaves my body even at a trace amount. Unfortunately, I am unsure of when that time will be, but I hope it is soon.

\"I want to thank my family, coaches, teammates, my attorney and the athletics department for their support during this difficult time. I will not have any further comment at this time. In addition, I have asked the athletics department to respect my privacy by not answering any questions or releasing any information beyond this statement.\"

While UA and the NCAA have declined comment on Trier since speculation first surfaced in the preseason about a positive drug test, UA coach Sean Miller has indicated public signs of frustration.

Miller told a college basketball podcast Monday that Trier's case is a \"once in a lifetime\" circumstance and later told local reporters he was \"ambivalent\" about Trier's chances of playing this season. Trier has missed all 18 of UA's regular-season games and also did not play in the Wildcats' two exhibition games, though he has practiced with the team.

Miller said Trier was cleared by the NCAA to begin traveling for the Wildcats' Dec. 3 game with Gonzaga in Los Angeles. However, when asked if that represented progress in the case, Miller said it meant nothing.

The Star's policy is generally not to run stories with unnamed sources, so the ESPN.com story wasn't scheduled to be in Thursday's edition until UA responded to it on the record with Trier's statement.

A positive PED test is consistent with the circumstances that have been publicly outlined for Trier's departure -- Trier is not in any local court records except for minor traffic offenses, Miller has said his timeline is not related to the academic calendar (meaning it wasn't likely academic related) and NCAA extra benefits violations are typically assigned a definitive number of games depending on the circumstances.

UA and the NCAA had declined comment about Trier's status to the Star since speculation about a positive drug test started in the preseason. The Star has also filed two public records requests, including one in October about the results of drug testing in the Arizona athletic program. But that request was largely unanswered, with the school citing student privacy laws (the responses are attached as PDF files).

A second, related public records request from the Star to UA sent on Dec. 20 has still not been answered. Two follow-up emails to the NCAA requesting comment about Trier and the categorization of penalties have also not been answered.

A positive drug test is rare in college sports. The NCAA told the Star in October that it tested 12,928 athletes in 2015-16 and had 149 sanctioned outcomes, the net result after subtracting positive results that were cleared through a medical exception review.\u00a0

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We already knew who the Arizona Wildcats\u2019 2017 opponents were before Wednesday\u2019s big reveal. Bye-bye, Stanford and Washington. Hello, Cal and Oregon.

But how the schedule fits together is just as critical \u2013 maybe even more so \u2013 to a team\u2019s success.

Here are some quick thoughts on each of Arizona\u2019s opponents next season:


Comment: Unlike the \u201916 opener against BYU, this should be a walkover. FCS Northern Arizona went 5-6 last season. When Arizona and NAU last met, on Sept. 19, 2015, the Wildcats won 77-13, setting school records for points and yards (792).


Comment: This won\u2019t be a walkover. Yes, Tom Herman is gone. And yes, the Cougars stumbled down the stretch, losing their final two games. But Houston returns a ton of starters under new coach Major Applewhite, include star DT Ed Oliver.


Comment: If Arizona loses to Houston, this becomes a must-win game. Even if they\u2019re 2-0, the Wildcats might need to be 3-0 in the non-con to attain bowl eligibility (which might be necessary to save Rich Rodriguez\u2019s job). The Miners have had only one winning season in the past 11.


Comment: Last year\u2019s Pac-12 opener \u2013 a 35-28 OT loss to College Football Playoff participant Washington \u2013 represented the pre-Territorial Cup peak of Arizona\u2019s season. The Utes will be wary of the Wildcats, having lost four in a row in the series before 2016. Two additional items of note: This is a Friday-night game, and it marks the return of LB Cody Ippolito, who transferred from the UA to Utah.


Comment: Arizona will be coming off a bye. Colorado will be coming off a trip to UCLA. So there\u2019s that. The Buffaloes will be one of the most intriguing Pac-12 teams of 2017 after their breakthrough in \u201916 \u2013 although losing their final two games by a combined 79-18 sorta feels like \u201914 Arizona, no?


Comment: Arizona saw first-hand what a healthy Josh Rosen could do in last year\u2019s 45-21 Bruins triumph. He\u2019ll be operating a new offense under Jedd Fisch, who comes to Westwood via Ann Arbor, Michigan. Depending on how things have transpired, there could be a lot of coach-on-the-hot-seat talk on both sides in this matchup.


Comment: This will be a decidedly different-looking Cal team than the one Arizona defeated 49-45 in 2014. Sonny Dykes and his \u201cBear Raid\u201d offense are out; former Wisconsin and USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is in (to the disbelief of Trojans fans). Cal also will have its third starting QB in as many years.


Comment: The good news \u2013 this can\u2019t possibly go worse than last year\u2019s 69-7 humiliation in Pullman. The bad news \u2013 QB Luke Falk is back. His numbers in two games against the UA are comical: 79 of 97 (81.4 percent) for 825 yards with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Wildcats might try hitting him a time or two in Round 3.


Comment: This is where the roughest part of Arizona\u2019s schedule begins \u2013 the first of three November road games to close the season. The Trojans lose a ton of talent but return Sam Darnold, who might be the best quarterback in the country. Last year\u2019s 48-14 USC victory snapped a string of nine consecutive one-score games in the series.


Comment: This looks like the most winnable game of the month \u2013 and it might be a game the Wildcats have to win to ensure bowl eligibility. It\u2019s possible Oregon State \u2013 which won its final two games, beating Arizona and Oregon \u2013 will be this year\u2019s Colorado. But that seems premature.


Comment: This isn\u2019t a traditional rivalry by any means, but there\u2019s unquestionably some rancor between the schools after Oregon poached two of Arizona\u2019s 2017 commits, including QB Braxton Burmeister. Remember the last time the Wildcats visited Eugene? Things have changed dramatically since, on both sides.


Comment: Will RichRod and Todd Graham both be coaching for their jobs? Will both schools need to win to reach bowl games? Will ASU\u2019s defense show up? Who will Arizona\u2019s quarterback be by season\u2019s end? So many questions. Far too much time to ponder them.

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A year ago, Arizona's quarterback position might, arguably, have looked like its most stable.\u00a0

Anu Solomon and\u00a0Brandon Dawkins were returning, four-star freshman\u00a0Khalil Tate enrolled early and the Wildcats had both\u00a0Braxton Burmeister\u00a0and\u00a0Rhett Rodriguez\u00a0on the 2017 pipeline.\u00a0

Well, a lot has changed since then \u2014 Solomon is transferring to Baylor, Burmeister flipped to Oregon at the last minute and while both Dawkins and Tate showed flashes last season, both are still works in progress.\u00a0

With the late \"departure\" of Burmeister, the Wildcats were left scrambling for depth at football's most important position. Wednesday, the Wildcats took the first steps to rectify that situation after offering two-star\u00a0Nick Tronti\u00a0a scholarship.

Thankful for an offer from the University of Arizona today! #pac12 pic.twitter.com/PHJfMwoYdz

\u2014 Nick Tronti (@nickyt616) January 18, 2017

Tronti is currently committed to Charlotte, and holds offers from Indiana, Hawaii, Nevada, Marshall and a handful of other lower level FBS programs.

The 6-2, 210 pounder is considered a \"dual threat\" quarterback and an ideal fit for Arizona's offense. From Ponte Vedra High School in Florida, Tronti was named \"Mr. Football\" in Florida after a senior season where he threw for 3,328 yards, 34 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 650 yards and 19 touchdowns.\u00a0

Tronti will likely take an official visit to Arizona at some point before Signing Day on Feb. 1.\u00a0

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The Arizona Wildcats will open Pac-12 play on a Friday next season, according to the schedule released this morning.

Arizona will face Utah in its conference opener on Sept. 22 at Arizona Stadium. The kickoff time for this game and others will be announced at a later date.

Arizona\u2019s non-conference schedule starts with Northern Arizona and Houston at home, followed by a trip to UTEP on Sept. 16.

The Wildcats have a bye after the Utah game before visiting Colorado on Oct. 7. Family Weekend is the following Saturday (Oct. 14). Homecoming is Oct. 28 vs. Washington State.

The toughest stretch for Arizona appears to be the final third of the schedule. The UA plays three of its last four regular-season games on the road, including trips to USC and Oregon. The season-ending Territorial Cup against Arizona State is slated for Nov. 25.

Here\u2019s how Arizona\u2019s 2017 schedule shapes up:

Additionally, Arizona announced that spring practice will begin on Saturday, Feb. 18. An open practice for fans is scheduled for March 2.

"}, {"id":"ff8c4148-dd10-11e6-8499-1f2b13cb942a","type":"article","starttime":"1484698500","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-17T17:15:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1484781334","priority":40,"sections":[{"blog":"sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona fans can interact with Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez on National Signing Day","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/article_ff8c4148-dd10-11e6-8499-1f2b13cb942a.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/arizona-fans-can-interact-with-wildcats-coach-rich-rodriguez-on/article_ff8c4148-dd10-11e6-8499-1f2b13cb942a.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/blog/arizona-fans-can-interact-with-wildcats-coach-rich-rodriguez-on/article_ff8c4148-dd10-11e6-8499-1f2b13cb942a.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":2,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Michael Lev\nArizona Daily Star","prologue":"RichRod will talk to fans and take questions after the UA's class is announced Feb. 1.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["rich rodriguez","arizona wildcats football","arizona wildcats football recruiting"],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#toptwo","#editorspick"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7","description":"Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, right, will talk to fans on National Signing Day.","byline":"Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":2096,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/1a/91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7/5839375617e4b.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"433","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/1a/91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7/5839375614e2e.image.jpg?resize=620%2C433"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/1a/91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7/5839375614e2e.image.jpg?crop=1722%2C968%2C0%2C32&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/1a/91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7/5839375614e2e.image.jpg?crop=1722%2C968%2C0%2C32&resize=300%2C169&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/9/1a/91a491ee-b3a8-11e6-93e4-c764458e31b7/5839375614e2e.image.jpg?crop=1722%2C968%2C0%2C32&resize=1024%2C576&order=crop%2Cresize"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"ff8c4148-dd10-11e6-8499-1f2b13cb942a","body":"

Want the scoop on National Signing Day, straight from the head coach\u2019s mouth?

Arizona fans can hear from and ask questions of Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez during a \u201cSigning Day Celebration\u201d event on Feb. 1.

Rodriguez will discuss the 2017 signing class and take questions during the event, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Sands Club at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. Doors open at 5:30.

Tickets are $10 for Wildcat Club members and season-ticket holders, $20 for the general public. Tickets include admission, appetizers, soft drinks, beer and wine. Fans also can have their picture taken with the Territorial Cup.

Free parking is available in the lots east of Arizona Stadium after 5 p.m. Parking in the Cherry Avenue Garage is $5.

For more information, click here or call 520-621-2287.

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When Maryland came after Sean Miller to become its new head coach after UA\u2019s surprising run to the 2011 Elite Eight, Greg Byrne was among the obstacles standing in the way.

While Miller and Maryland AD Kevin Anderson didn\u2019t appear to hit it off well, there was no doubt Byrne was aggressively working on his end to make sure Miller didn\u2019t leave after the Wildcats\u2019 surprising Elite Eight run of 2011.

Not only did Miller receive a contract extension, but also a more generous budget to fly charter for recruiting and raises for his assistant coaches.

Asked if Byrne played a role in his decision to stay at UA, Miller said:

\u201cThat was a part of it. That seems like 20 years ago now, so long ago, but every coach you have a sense of comfort and Dr. (Ann Weaver) Hart is a big sense of comfort as well. The time here at Arizona is unique in that she\u2019ll be leaving us as well and she\u2019s been incredibly supportive of our basketball program, of athletics in general and things that are behind the scenes on a daily basis and she\u2019s always been there in a very positive light.

\u201cI respect her and so with her leaving and also Greg leaving obviously there are gonna be two new people who are going to have a big impact on the future of Arizona Athletics. And I\u2019m excited to see it. We have tremendous people making those decisions. Like we did when Jim Livengood left and Greg became the next athletic director, Dr. Hart followed Robert Shelton. Obviously, it\u2019s a critical time, but I\u2019m confident we\u2019ll get two really good people.\u201d

Miller began his news conference today speaking highly of Byrne.

\u201cI have a hard time believing that an athletic director anywhere did a better job for his university than he did here for us at Arizona,\u201d Miller said. \u201cIn the seven years he was here a lot of great things have happened. In terms of his support, relationship, direction of the men\u2019s basketball program, which I\u2019m in charge of, I couldn\u2019t imagine a better relationship, better leadership.

\u201cOn a personal level, a friend is leaving. His wife and Greg are great friends with my wife and myself. That usually doesn\u2019t happen in a relationship between an athletic director and a coach but in this case it did happen. We didn\u2019t really know each other when Greg came from Mississippi State.

\u201cObviously it\u2019s kind of an empty feeling with him leaving only because of how meaningful he was to our program, our university and the friendship in addition to that. I know that he\u2019ll go on and do great things at Alabama. They\u2019re lucky to have him. I know that we\u2019ll move on in a positive direction and most important get somebody here as our new athletic director who approaches things in the same way, does a great job. So I\u2019m anxious to see that happen.\u201d

Later, Miller said: \u201cHe\u2019s someone who\u2019s incredibly candid and honest with a coach, and very transparent. He\u2019s an incredible communicator. He has a great pulse and feel for the goings on in your program.

\u201cIt\u2019s not always smooth. There are crisis moments, there are tough moments in an athletic program of this stature and he never wavers. He problem solves. He\u2019s with you and he loves to win. All of us benefited by his overall passion to improve, whether it be facilities, whether to give us the biggest advantage we could have in any recruiting situation.

\u201cAnd is really part of his every day. He woke up every day with tremendous passion and energy to make Arizona the best place it could possibly be. His energy and effort are unmatched. In an athletic director it\u2019s almost like hiring a coach today. You have to burn the candle at both ends, fundraising and being comprehensive. It\u2019s a difficult job for sure and to get a great person in that position, it\u2019s amazing what it does for everybody.\u201d

When asked for an example of how Byrne helped the basketball program, Miller talked of the renovations to McKale Center:

\"His ability to change McKale at a very critical time. You walk in to McKale right now ... it looks like a brand new arena, and it shines and the impact is for everybody. Television, fan base, our team, the guys who play here, and from a recruiting perspective, that is a big, big deal on why young people choose the place that they go to school. ... If it impacted our ability to be better, then he was going to find a way to get that done for our program.\"

Miller was also asked if he might have any say in a new athletic director hire. While there\u2019s no doubt UA will look for an AD who will mesh with him, Miller first answered that question lightheartedly:

\u201cI\u2019m the basketball coach. I\u2019m getting ready for USC and UCLA,\u201d he said, smiling. \u201cThat\u2019s No. 1. That\u2019s my job. If asked, certainly I would love to have a sense or a feel for who they are and I\u2019m confident that that will happen.\u201d

Miller appeared again to back off the Pac-12 Networks\u2019 report that he believes Allonzo Trier will be back at some point this season. He told the College Hoops Today podcast that \u201che can\u2019t even say he\u2019s optimistic right now\u201d about what he termed a \u201conce in a generation type deal.\u201d

Asked if that\u2019s how he now feels at today\u2019s presser, Miller said:

\u201cI\u2019m ambivalent,\u201d he said. \u201cI don\u2019t have control of the situation. So when you\u2019re dealing with a crisis or adversity and we\u2019ve had plenty here over the least nine months, you finally settle into what can you really control.

\u201cFor me, the purpose every day is we have to coach Rawle (Alkins), Kobi (Simmons), and all of those guys. We are coaching Allonzo. Academically he\u2019s in a great place. He does what he\u2019s supposed to. He practices hard every day. He\u2019s in great physical condition but he\u2019s not allowed to play and it\u2019s not my choice. And it\u2019s just one of those situations that I wish was different but it\u2019s not.\u201d

While the Wildcats practiced both Saturday and Sunday, then took today off, Miller said he gave Parker Jackson-Cartwright both weekend practices off while he continues to recover from his high ankle sprain.

Miller also said he didn\u2019t plan to change his starting lineup for now.

\u201cWe could moving forward,\u201d Miller said. \u201cWhatever is best for our team, that\u2019s what we\u2019re gonna do. What\u2019s good about Parker is we've given him the right minutes. You haven\u2019t seen him really struggle because we\u2019ve never asked him to play 34 minutes in a game.

\u201cIt\u2019s been the right amount, which has allowed him to help us and maybe not put him in a bad way. Sometimes if you start favoring your ankle that\u2019s when other injuries will occur, not necessarily the injury that he had but a different type so I think we\u2019re beyond that point and we can just go from there. But all eight players are important whether they start or not.\u201d

Miller said he enjoyed watching the ESPN-televised game between signees DeAndre Ayton and Brandon Randolph at the Hoophall Classic on Saturday, when Randolph was named the game\u2019s MVP after scoring 28 points to help Westtown beat Ayton\u2019s Hillcrest Prep 66-54.

While UA assistant coach Book Richardson said Randolph wasn't eligible for the McDonald's All-American Game because he's a fifth-year senior, keeping him out of the prestigious event that Ayton was named to Sunday, Miller said Randolph was \"late on the scene\" to the basketball spotlight.\u00a0

\u201cIf you would have judged him a year or so ago, he wouldn\u2019t be as highly thought of as he is now,\" Miller said. \"But a lot of times those are the guys who continue to improve. If you think of how far he\u2019s come in the last two years, I think he\u2019ll stay on that same track.\u201d

Biggest non-Byrne-related \u201cnews\u201d of the day might have been that New Yorker Rawle Alkins was using his day off to go to the Arizona DMV to see if he could pass tests and get a driver\u2019s license.

\u201cRight after this interview,\u201d said Alkins, who was the designated player to be interviewed today. \u201cMy cousin\u2019s waiting for me outside.\u201d

Having grown up taking the subway at home, Alkins said he\u2019s taken a lot of Uber rides since arriving in Tucson but finally decided to take the plunge on driving. He said he has often practiced late at night while driving with a cousin who came out to Tucson with him this year.

\u201cHaven\u2019t done the highway yet, so I don\u2019t know what to expect on the test,\u201d Alkins said. \u201cI know the rules and stuff. I did the written part. Practiced. So hopefully I do well. Pray for me, guys.\u201d

Arizona jumped two spots to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. UCLA moved to No. 3 and Gonzaga to No. 4, while USC dropped out after losing to Utah. Oregon is No. 11.

My ballot had the Wildcats at No. 15.

UCLA's Bryce Alford beat out UA's Lauri Markkanen and others for the Pac-12 Player of the Week award.

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Good news has been hard to come by lately for Arizona's football program, particularly in the wake of former commit\u00a0Braxton Burmeister\u00a0flipping to Oregon and athletic director\u00a0Greg Byrne\u00a0bolting for Alabama.\u00a0

Monday, the Wildcats managed to deliver a recruiting shocker \u2014 3-star defensive end\u00a0My-King Johnson\u00a0announced a verbal commitment to Arizona, in turn backing out of his commitment to UCLA.\u00a0

\"Just received a great home visit with Coach Rod,\" Johnson tweeted. \"With that being said I have decided to commit to UofA\".

UA coach Rich Rodriguez, special teams coach Charlie Ragle and defensive line coach Vince Amey took an in-home visit with Johnson on Monday.\u00a0

Johnson's decision comes as one of the bigger surprises for Arizona in this recruiting cycle, as Johnson had been committed to UCLA since Jan. 6 and hadn't mentioned Arizona as a finalist previously.\u00a0

Johnson is a huge pick-up for the Wildcats, a team both desperate for talent on the defensive line and to make up ground in keeping talented in-state recruits in Arizona. Johnson, from Tempe, is rated three stars by Scout.com and is the top-rated defensive end in Arizona.\u00a0

Johnson, listed at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, also had offers from USC, Oregon, Arizona State and Texas A&M.\u00a0

The addition of Johnson brings Arizona's 2017 class back up to 25 players, including kicker\u00a0Lucas Havrisik, who committed to the Wildcats on Sunday.\u00a0

Just received a great home visit with Coach Rod. With that being said I have decided to commit to UofA. #beardown

\u2014 My-King Johnson (@kingj9943) January 16, 2017
"} ]