The NBA Combine begins this week, where debates will rage on about college players and their potential at the next level.
Draft analyst Fran Fraschilla poked some fun at that process by listing five statements that pundits often use to pump up unheralded players:
- His college coach held him back
- His workout guru has really fixed his shooting stroke
- That ‘violation of team rules’ was a misunderstanding
- They played him out of position
- He’s definitely stopped smoking
Former UA teammate Kobi Simmons then added “very true” along with an eye roll emoji.
So #1 and #4 aren’t sometimes true though?— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) May 14, 2019
Very true— Kobi Simmons (@JordanKobi) May 15, 2019
This led some to believe they were referring to their experiences at Arizona. Neither Simmons nor Trier were drafted out of college, despite arriving at the UA as five-star recruits.
In Simmons’ case, he had a fairly uninspiring college career, averaging 8.7 points per game on sub-40-percent shooting. He got off to a strong start but pretty much fell out of the rotation by the time his freshman season ended (thanks in part to Trier being reinstated from a suspension).
And last summer Simmons did not exactly shut down speculation that he and Sean Miller had a strained relationship:
Trier, who is faring well in New York, had a much better career at Arizona when it wasn’t marred by injuries and suspensions. He averaged 16.8 points per game over three seasons and got better each year, culminating in a junior season in which he averaged 18.1 PPG with a shooting line of .500/.380/.865.
With that kind of production, it’s hard to say Miller used Trier incorrectly or played him out of position, though one could argue Arizona could have gotten even more out of him.
Trier also played with Lauri Markkanen and Deandre Ayton, whose roles in college drew some criticism too. Like when Markkanen did not touch the ball in the last 11 minutes of an NCAA Tournament game, or when Ayton was constantly being asked to chase smaller players around the perimeter.
That said, it is certainly possible Trier and Simmons were just speaking about the sport in general and not taking a shot at Arizona or its coaching staff.
Prior to this, neither have had any bad things to say about the school. Trier still returns every now and then to work out, and Simmons repped the block A last July when he was playing for the Memphis Grizzlies in NBA Summer League.