clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona’s Allonzo Trier, DeAndre Ayton named a top duo in college basketball by ESPN

The Wildcats may have the best 1-2 punch in the country, according to ESPN

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With a strong group of returning players and the addition of a top-five recruiting class, the Arizona Wildcats are expected to be one of the top teams in college basketball in 2017-18.

In fact, several publications list Arizona as their No. 1 team in their “way-too-early” preseason polls.

The Wildcats bring back their leading scorer in Allonzo Trier, and sophomore standout Rawle Alkins will start on the wing beside him.

That tandem should prove to be one of the best perimeter duos in the country — but it might not even be Arizona’s best duo.

According to ESPN, Trier and No. 1 recruit DeAndre Ayton are one of the top eight “1-2 punches” in college basketball in the upcoming season.

Here’s what Myron Medcalf wrote:

Sean Miller's squad could enter 2017-18 ranked first in every reputable poll with Trier, a preseason Pac-12 player of the year candidate, and Ayton, ranked second in the 2017 class by Trier thrived after missing most of last season due to a suspension by the NCAA. He's back to bulk up impressive numbers from a year ago -- 17.2 PPG, 39.1 percent from the 3-point line -- before his pro career begins. Ayton, an ambitious and aggressive big man, will help Trier and Arizona with his ability to attack at all levels of the floor.

Still, it is a little surprising that Alkins isn’t included.

Statistically, Alkins is Arizona’s best returning player as he boasts the top box plus/minus — a box score estimate of the points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player — among returning players.

The do-it-all guard averaged 10.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting a relatively high percentage from the field (46.3) and from 3 (37.0) — all while playing solid defense.

One could argue that Alkins is more valuable to Arizona than Trier and/or that Alkins is more worthy to be included than Ayton because the latter has not played in a college game yet.

Nonetheless, Alkins being “snubbed” here is a good “problem” to have for Arizona, which is clearly loaded with talent.

Here are the rest of the top duos that ESPN listed (in no particular order):

Miles Bridges & Jaren JacksonMichigan State Spartans

Devonte’ Graham & Svi MykhailiukKansas Jayhawks

Jock Landale & Calvin HermansonSaint Mary’s Gaels

Chris Chiozza & KeVaughn AllenFlorida Gators

Deng Adel & Quentin SniderLouisville Cardinals

Khadeen Carrington & Angel DelgadoSeton Hall Pirates

Andrew Jones & Mohamed BambaTexas Longhorns

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire