Allonzo Trier was featured in the New York Times Magazine as a 13-year-old prodigy.

New York Times

Sean Miller didn’t start recruiting Allonzo Trier hard until April, but you could say the Arizona Wildcats actually began to years earlier.

When Trier was in the fifth grade, he played in a Five-Star Basketball camp with a coach named Adam Cohen. The same Adam Cohen who began his career as a student manager under Lute Olson, then worked as an aide on Kevin O’Neill’s interim staff of 2007-08, and is now an assistant coach at Vanderbilt.

“Zo was on his team and Adam kept saying, `Go to Arizona. It will be a great fit for you,’ “ said Trier’s mother, Marcia. “Zo loved him. We still talk to Adam to this day.”

In part because of Cohen, the first college basketball game that Allonzo and Marcia took in was the one when Washington hosted the Wildcats during that 2007-08 season. Arizona’s recruiting all but disintegrated after that, until Miller was hired in 2009, and Trier resurfaced as a top 2015 player this year, when the Wildcats really went after him.

FWIW, Marcie Trier said she and her son also couldn't help but notice that in the word "Arizona" is the name he goes by most commonly.

"They call him 'Zo,' " she said. "That added to the enticement."

Still, the choice wasn’t automatic. Marcie Trier said Allonzo also liked Washington and was considering playing for Lorenzo Romar late in the recruiting process, while also wondering how UA’s initial offer would work considering that, at the time, the Wildcats already had a commitment from guard Tyler Dorsey of Los Angeles.

“Arizona had always been a school that was implied we should go to,” Marcie Trier said. “At the time we were serious, Tyler Dorsey was there. I told Joe (Pasternack, UA associate head coach) that it was going to be “hard to get Zo because you have a shooting guard.’ “

A week after Miller’s offer, Dorsey decommitted. On Sunday, after an official visit that Marcie and Allonzo both found a clincher, Trier came aboard instead.

Clark Francis, the Hoop Scoop editor who was quoted in the longform 2009 New York Times Magazine story on Trier and the elite youth basketball scene (ICYMI read it here when you have time), remains bullish on him today.

While most recruiting analysts have Trier in the 10-20 range among 2015 prospects, Francis said he’s moving Trier up to No. 2 (behind only forward Ben Simmons) after his play in EYBL competition this summer.

“Most people have Allonzo a lot lower, but… boy is he good at driving to the basket and picking up fouls,” Francis said. “When he was younger, he was so small he was a point guard and now he’s got great court vision, good court awareness and good passing skills.”

Francis said he remembers Trier as a sixth grader who stood just five feet tall, when “everybody was writing him off.”

Francis did not. At that age, he says, a player’s eventual height is a mystery. But his heart is not.

“When Allonzo was in the sixth grade, he said ‘I religiously make 600 jump shots a day,’ “ Francis said, later adding: “What makes Allonzo Trier special is he’s got that Kevin Durant-Kevin Garnett ‘I’m going to beat you no matter what,’ that burning desire. And that, at an early age, you can tell.”

ESPN’s Paul Biancardi also spoke highly of Trier during the adidas Nations telecast Monday on ESPNU.

“His DNA is to score,” Biancardi said. “And when he’s not making three-point shots, he’s making powerful drives to the basket. … Sean Miller has got to be ecstatic.”

Was a tough day for UA commit Justin Simon at adidas Nations. In a consolation game against Europe, Simon went 0-for-8 from the field and scored only two points during Team Howard's win.

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball