Allonzo Trier Has Always Found a Way to Overcome Adversity

There is an abundance of facts that, taken together, make a strong case for free agent Allonzo Trier making the Knicks.

He was the second-ranked high school recruit in 2015 behind Ben Simmons, who just won NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

He became the first player in the history of the Nike EYBL to average more than 30 points per game.

TUCSON, AZ – MARCH 03: Allonzo Trier #35 of the Arizona Wildcats handles the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the California Golden Bears at McKale Center on March 3, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 66-54 to win the PAC-12 Championship. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

He caught the eye of Kevin Durant, who became somewhat of a mentor.

But this is the most significant reason why Trier, who signed a free agent deal with the Knicks and will compete in the upcoming Summer League, has a legitimate chance to make the team:

Trier has learned how to overcome adversity.

[Read More From Lenn Robbins]

Once considered a surefire NBA player, Trier knows how it feels to be on top of the mountain only to fall. He didn’t stay down. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound shooting guard averaged 18 points on 50-percent shooting from the field, 38 percent on 3s and 87 percent from the line last season at Arizona.

“There’s not a guy out there this summer that’s more hungry to become an NBA player than him and I think that whatever he’s asked to do he’ll run through a wall to do it,’’ said Sean Miller, Trier’s coach at Arizona. “In particular considering how Draft night went for him, he’s always played with a chip on his shoulder, in a good way, but I think that chip’s bigger now.’’

Exactly when this chip first landed on Trier’s shoulder is hard to pinpoint.

It could have been as a child, when Allonzo and his mother, Marcie, made it by sharing a two-bedroom apartment in Seattle.

It could have been when Marcie, a social worker at a shelter for victims of domestic abuse, would have Allonzo stay at the Seattle Rotary after school. The first grader would play ball against older and stronger boys but he never backed down.

It could have been when he was diagnosed with dyslexia in sixth grade. Marcie helped him overcome the reading disorder.

It could have been when Marcie made him take 3,000 shots a week.

It could have been when he missed seven games in his freshman season at Arizona with a broken right hand.

It could have been when he missed the majority of his sophomore season after testing positive for a PED that he unknowingly took after recovering from minor injuries sustained in an auto accident.

Or it could have been draft night when he saw players he excelled against in high school and college get picked, yet his name wasn’t called.

“He is not a throw-in,’’ said Miller. “This is a guy that’s played against the best, that’s performed at a very level at every level and in my mind, he’s going to make it in the NBA. I hope he makes it with the Knicks.

TUCSON, AZ – MARCH 03: Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats greets Allonzo Trier #35 after Trier checked out of the second half of the college basketball game against the California Golden Bears at McKale Center on March 3, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bears 66-54 to win the PAC-12 Championship. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“To get him on a two-way contract as an undrafted player I think the more he’s around the coaching staff, the organization, I think the more everyone will value him as an NBA player. The thing about Allonzo is, he can score. He’s scored at every level.

“Every place that he’s played it’s been the best of the best with the brightest lights and the biggest stage.’’

There is no bigger stage, nor brighter lights than the Big Apple.

Trier, 22, who played at national high school power, Findley Prep, and national college power, Arizona, alongside No.1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, shouldn’t be fazed by New York. Miller is certain of this: If Trier doesn’t make the Knicks or another NBA team, it won’t be for lack of effort.

“Nothing has ever come easy for Allonzo,’’ said Miller. “He’s had to work for everything, He and his mom, the path that they’ve taken and how hard they’ve worked at the game.

“With Alonzo, of all the players we’ve had at Arizona — and I’ve been here nine years now — there’s quite a few that have been in the NBA, there’s quite a few that were excellent players for us and are playing in Europe, nobody has worked harder on the game than him.’’