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Arizona basketball: Mark Tollefsen and Justin Simon to play "a lot" in Allonzo Trier's absence

Arizona will go one spot down the rung to fill minutes moving forward

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As the Arizona Wildcats look to move into the next month or so without leading scorer Allonzo Trier, there are several different ways they can go, but all are relative downgrades when looking at this particular version of the Wildcats.

"You can try to make some silver lining out of it, but there really isn't any," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday about Trier's broken shooting hand suffered against USC. "His efficiency in his scoring for us and his steady improvements in a lot of other areas really gave us hope. And I think from his perspective, it says a lot about all of the different things he has brought to the table."

The two main guys that will see in increase in minutes are Mark Tollefsen and Justin Simon as Elliott Pitts continues to be sidelined with a mysterious personal issue. Despite various reports, Miller said on Tuesday that Pitts' situation "has not changed".

"Those two really jump out at me," Miller explained about lineup changes that he'll need to make with Tollefsen and Simon. "Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who plays every game, potentially could be able to do more."

"The thing you don't think about is how it affects guys like Gabe (York) and Kadeem (Allen)," coach continued. "They may have to go from start to finish, which makes foul trouble something that we really have to guard against."

And then if you were wondering just how much Arizona is hurting by not having Trier, Pitts and Ray Smith available came this bombshell from coach:

"Jacob Hazzard is someone I've talked to about being ready to go if we get in foul trouble," said Miller. "I would say he would be the next guy we'll call on."

The senior walk-on would essentially be moving up to where Justin Simon was a few days ago on the depth chart. But the minutes the guys above him will play will increase significantly before Hazzard becomes an option.

"Both Mark Tollefsen and Justin Simon will have more minutes given to them," coach said. He wouldn't commit to a starting lineup, but did say "whoever starts, Justin Simon and Mark Tollefsen will play a lot."

You'll also get a small group on the floor with the combo of Jackson-Cartwright, Gabe York and Kadeem Allen at the one, two and three respectively.

"That would make us very small, but that's something we're going to have to do whether we want to do it or not," explained Miller. "I think you'll see that group in there more."

Things are going to change, but as we saw with Arizona two years ago, Miller is capable of changing lineups on the fly like this. But this team's defense isn't nearly as good as that team's was, so guys like Tollefsen, Simon and Jackson-Cartwright are going to need to do more than just play more minutes. They're going to need to be productive on the offensive end in those minutes if the Wildcats are going to have success in Trier's absence.