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Arizona basketball: Allonzo Trier says PED suspension is ‘probably the only reason’ he returned for junior season

Trier would probably be in the NBA right now if he was never suspended for PEDs

Washington v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Allonzo Trier is blunt when talking about his chaotic sophomore season. He was gypped.

“Absolutely,” he agreed.

The Arizona Wildcats’ guard was suspended for the first 19 games of the 2016-17 season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The NCAA agreed that Trier unknowingly took the banned substance, but still did not allow him to return to the court until it was completely flushed from his system.

Trier finally returned to the Wildcats in time for most of Pac-12 play and the postseason, but never really got into a groove with the team after sitting out for so long.

Many thought Trier being sidelined by the NCAA would dissuade him from returning to school and playing another year of college basketball, but the opposite is true.

He’s back for a third year because of that suspension.

“That’s probably the only reason why I’m back,” Trier said before Arizona’s trip to Spain.

So now all Trier wants is a full season in red and blue, something he has not had since arriving in Tucson in 2015.

As a freshman, Trier broke his hand during Pac-12 play and missed several weeks. So while Trier’s 2017-18 campaign will technically be his third season at Arizona, that number might as well be cut in half.

“Obviously I’m going to be a junior, but games-wise, I’ve played maybe about a season and a half,” Trier said.

“But it is what it is. I’m just looking forward to having a great year with this team, continue to build and be a leader, and help bring these guys along and help us have success.”

Trier’s decision to not even test the NBA Draft waters was surprising, but now as a third-year player and one of the top scorers in the country, he’s in college basketball’s spotlight.

Coaches pegged Trier as the sport’s best shooting guard and the 11th-best player in the country, and he will be the centerpiece of one of the nation’s most powerful teams.

There’s no telling what Trier and the Wildcats can accomplish in the 2017-18, and all Trier wants is a fair chance to make things happen.

No injuries. No suspensions.

“God-willing, hopefully I’ll have a full season,” he said.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire