Gary Trent Jr. arrived at Duke University in the fall of 2017 as the No. 1 overall shooting guard coming out of high school. The Columbus, Ohio native was a McDonald’s All-American and part of the top recruiting class in college basketball. But as high-profile of a player that he was, Trent was not the star at Duke last season.
It was an overall quiet season for Trent, with flashes of athleticism and quick streaks of hot shooting. But the numbers were solid considering the loaded roster around him. Trent finished with 14.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and shot a crisp 40% from the three-point line. His most notable game was a career high 30 pts. (6-9 3pt) on the road in a big win against conference opponent Miami.
The decision to not return to school for Trent didn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Duke, in fact, lost all five starters to either graduation or a one-and-done decision.
The draft stock on Trent was conservative shortly after he declared; early to mid-second round, with a few putting him at the tail end of the first. This assessment was fair considering his place on a stacked Blue Devils team. If you are 6’5″ and you can shoot, you’ll have a place in the league. So Trent was always going to have draft consideration, but some inconsistencies and a reserved team role led to the lower pick predictions.
But not all is set in stone. Before the NBA draft comes the NBA draft combine. The combine is a multi-day showcase every year in May where players hopeful of getting drafted have a chance to show NBA GMs their skills through a variety of drills and scrimmages.
The combine ended this past Sunday, and Trent was one of the names said to have really helped his potential draft positioning. The athleticism for Trent became a question after not getting to showcase it nearly enough at Duke with all the talent surrounding him. A 33.5″ standing vertical leap (3rd best in the combine) helped show the critics what they were looking for in that department.
Trent played in two scrimmage games at the combine. His averages were 16.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game. He also shot a total 4-8 from NBA three-point distance in the two games as well. Hello. The highlights of the scrimmage show great movement with his teammates, good decision-making with the ball, and smart shot selection. Although Duke fans wish he would’ve spent more time in Durham, it is apparent that his one season spent with the Blue Devils under Coach K has served him well.
This is exactly what the combine is all about. You have players who may not have reached their full potential in college now getting a chance to go all out as individuals and in team settings to make their case for the NBA. Gary Trent Jr. has most certainly taken full advantage of this opportunity. See you in the first round Gary.