One of the most productive members of the class of 2017 is Gary Trent Jr. The son of the famed “Shaq of the MAC” isn’t much like his dad as a player, even if they are both very efficient. The younger Trent is a skilled scoring guard who is capable of scoring from all over the court, unlike his dad who was a low post player.
In his time in college, Gary Trent Sr. was very generously listed at 6' 8" and was one of the most physically dominant players in the game. He was a driving force on some of the great Ohio University teams, averaging 22.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in his three-year career at the school.
After the Bucks selected him with the 11th pick in the 1995 draft, Trent Sr. went on to have a nearly decade-long career in which he averaged 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. His best season was in 1998–99, when he posted 16.0 points and 7.8 rebounds a game for the Dallas Mavericks.
Now his son is working to carry on the family legacy. Trent Jr., who has already signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Duke, is having a phenomenal senior season at Napa (Cal.) Prolific Prep. Unlike his father, Trent Jr. is a volume shooter and scorer who does most of his damage from the perimeter. But he inherited his father’s toughness.
Over the summer playing with Howard Pulley on the AAU circuit, Trent Jr. averaged 22.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. That scoring number was good for third overall in the Nike EYBL. In this high school season, Trent Jr. is showing off a more diverse game. He is passing the ball more, attacking off the bounce more and improving defensively.
He recognizes that he has to do more than just put points on the board to reach the lofty levels of his father’s college playing career.
“I feel I have been playing well,” said Trent Jr. “I am just trying to be an all-around player, not just a scorer. I am trying to rebound more and be more of a distributor. I am just trying to do everything I can to help my team win.”
Given his family pedigree and the fact that he is Scout’s No. 12 prospect in the Class of 2017, Trent Jr. knows what it’s like to live in the spotlight. And he believes that has prepared him to enroll at Duke, where scrutiny from the media and opposing fan bases will only increase. In fact, he thinks it was his confidence and attitude—not just his playmaking—that drew Duke’s coaches to him.
“They want me to be the player they recruited,” explained Trent Jr. “They want me to bring my game and my attitude, and just be a player who contributes right away and plays with confidence.”
Playing on a big stage was definitely a big reason why Trent Jr. picked the Blue Devils over offers from fellow finalists UCLA and Michigan State. Trent Jr. had also picked up offers from Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana and others.
Duke always appeared to be the team to beat for Trent Jr.’s services. He and his father connected quickly with head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Jeff Capel.
“I can’t wait to get there,” said Trent Jr. of Duke. “It is going to be phenomenal. I love everything about the school, loved my visit there, and I know it is the best decision I could have made. Coach K and Coach Capel are great guys, and I know they will make me the best player I can be.”
With Duke likely to have to replace a lot of perimeter firepower in Jayson Tatum and Matt Jones for sure, and possibly Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen, Trent Jr. may have to inherit a big role right away.
He should be ready for it. He has been groomed for it his whole life and thrives under pressure. The son of the Shaq of the MAC won’t remind many of his father’s game. But he’ll produce like his father did, and plenty of college basketball fans will be having flashbacks.