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Arizona basketball: Allonzo Trier remains upbeat, engaged despite ongoing eligibility questions

There’s still no real update on his return, though

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It would be easy for Allonzo Trier to be dispirited.

Rather than building on a stellar freshman season, the sophomore guard has had to watch every one of his team’s games from the bench this season due to an unspecified suspension.

He has been unable to help a short-handed Arizona Wildcats team and unable to showcase himself as a player — all without a return date in sight (if there is one).

Yet, he’s remained upbeat and an active participant both in practice and during games.

Trier has not missed one of Arizona’s 52 practices this season, and when the games roll around he’s often spotted cheering and encouraging his teammates.

“The only thing you have to do is just watch him during the games to see how much he cares about winning, how bad he feels about not being able to play, and how much he really cares about Arizona and his teammates,” head coach Sean Miller said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “He’s engaged and he’s been that way in practice.”

“He practices with great spirit and energy and competitiveness. That’s helped our team as well.”

That type of enthusiasm has led many to believe that Trier’s return is imminent. After all, how could someone be that positive if there’s a chance they miss the entire season?

But that’s not the case. Trier does not know when or if he will be back, and Miller could not offer an update on his playing status for Thursday’s game versus Utah.

“We’ll see,” Miller said. “I wish I could talk more about Allonzo, and hopefully in time I can.”

Either way, Trier will be involved one way or another as the Wildcats continue Pac-12 play, though obviously one of those ways — actually suiting up and playing — would be a lot more impactful for Arizona than the others.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire