While Pac-12 Network reporter Jill Savage said Saturday that Sean Miller "told me he does believe (Allonzo) Trier will play sometime this season,” Miller appeared to distance himself from that report during his news conference today.
Miller said he did not know of a date that Trier’s case will be resolved by and, when asked specifically about what he told the Pac-12 Network, said:
“Honestly, I’ve said so many things over the last three or four months, I would just say that I hope that Allonzo has an opportunity to play sometime this year. I’ll leave it at that. If I knew more, l would say. If I would be able to, I would say. But this is far, far higher up the ladder than me. I’m just soldiering the army, following orders.”
The Pac-12 Network report appeared to be unusual because reporters are warned before every UA press conference that no Trier status updates can be given. On the occasions they are asked, Miller, UA athletic director Greg Byrne and the NCAA have all declined comment repeatedly on Trier.
Trier has missed all 17 of UA’s games this season with a suspension that appears to now be in the NCAA’s hands.
Miller later spoke again of the contributions Trier has been making behind closed doors.
With “Allonzo, the one thing I can comment on is he practices with us every day,” Miller said. “He’s in school. He’s doing a great job as always. Our practice environment has been really good this year. I’ll knock on wood because I know it can change quickly, but I hope that continues to the finish line because if it does that bodes well.
“This is a team that loves the game. It stems from a lot of players. Allonzo is one of them. (Redshirting guard) Dylan Smith and Allonzo, they practice every time that we practice. Both are quality players and they make that daily grind a lot more efficient, more highly competitive and when you watch us practice we’re probably a deeper team than we would be in games. But that’s good because we haven’t had to try to be creative in how to go full court or figure out how to practice. We’ve practiced very steadily from start to finish and we have to continue that including this week."
Miller said he hasn’t seen the video clip of Bobby Hurley saying teams traveling to Arizona must go to “(bleeping) Tucson” if they want to get a win, though he said “a lot of people have told me about it.”
Miller is never one to get more fired up about facing ASU than any other Pac-12 team – noting that players could pick up on that, and might dangerously think another game is less important – and basically said Hurley was just doing his job. Miller said it doesn’t think it was a derogatory statement toward UA.
“The challenge as a coach is to have your team ready to play,” Miller said. “There’s a lot of different ways to go about that.”
Miller said he wasn’t sure if Parker Jackson-Cartwright will be inserted back in the starting lineup.
“That could happen here soon,” Miller said. “I’m more concerned about minutes. Parker played more minutes against Utah and Colorado than he did against Cal and Stanford. He was more able to play those minutes. He’s not at risk to get injured. But like I talked about the conditioning element and him not being 100 percent, you want to make sure he’s effective and that you have his best interest. It’s kind of like ramping him up, and being smart with that.
“As we get to ASU, as long as the next three days go by smoothly, that will be the healthiest Parker has been in a six-week period of time. Since his injury, so with that he’s capable of playing more , he’s playing really good and there’s certainly a chance we could put him back in the lineup.
“I don’t think about that as much as maybe the fans and the players but the quality minutes are more important for us.”
While joining Jackson-Cartwright today’s news conference after Miller spoke, Jackson-Cartwright said it didn’t matter too much if he started or not.
“Off the bench is fine,” PJC said. “I just want to win.”
Jackson-Cartwright said he still isn’t 100 percent from the high ankle sprain he suffered on Nov. 30 against Texas Southern.
“I wish,” he said. “But that’s just not realistic. The healing process was sped up for sure and it didn’t take the normal time that it takes to heal. With that there’s still some pain, and some stuff that I can do. It’s getting close to 100 percent but I think it’ll take a little bit more time.”
Arizona moved up one spot to No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
That's also where I had the Wildcats on my ballot. (The AP shifted the lone Arizona vote in mid-season and asked me to start voting again).