Gary Trent Jr. – Duke
CPP Big Board Ranking: #15 Overall (#2 SG)
Weight: 213 lbs
Age/Birthday: 19 (1/18/99)
Hometown: Columbus, OH
High School: Prolific Prep
(Grant Kobrin – 1/23/18)
Gary Trent Jr. is the son of former NBA player Gary Trent. His game differs greatly from his old man’s game, but he is still an outstanding NBA prospect. Regardless, he has a definite advantage over other similarly rated prospects in that he learned the game through a former NBA player. This is shown in his solid fundamentals and clear understanding of the game of basketball. He has a high basketball IQ which probably a result of how his father has impacted him as a young athlete. Kobe Bryant, Andrew Wiggins, Al Horford and many other outstanding NBA players were also raised by former NBA players. He is currently one of four freshman starting for Duke this year and has been one of the leading scorers thus far, averaging over 14 points a game thanks to his sound jump shot and overall feel for the game. Trent Jr. has already made big shots in the clutch moments early in his freshman season and we can only expect to see more of that come March. His performance down the stretch of the season will ultimately determine whether he turns pro after his freshman year. Trent Jr. is a solid prospect with a bright future ahead of him, and has a chance to win a national championship in his freshman year on this young Duke team.
Strengths: Gary Trent Jr. is a phenomenal shooter. He has picture perfect mechanics on his jump shot and has good elevation and a quick release to shoot over bigger defenders. He is shooting just under 43% from beyond the three point line and is nearing 90% from the free-throw line. These numbers speak for themselves and prove Gary Trent Jr. is a knockdown shooter, it’s that simple. His display shooting this season is very similarly to how Devin Booker looked few years ago as freshman guard for the Kentucky Wildcats. Additionally, Trent Jr. has a great feel for the game and a very high basketball IQ for a guard. He seems to make the right decision on the court more times than not, and really understands how to space the floor and when to cut into the lane. Not the quickest guard out there, but has good size and strength for the position and can oftentimes drive past his defenders and finish well at the rim. Gary Trent Jr. is an unselfish player on offense, but understands his role on this Duke squad as a spot up shooter and scorer. He is averaging over a steal a game so he has shown to be active in the passing lanes and have potential to be a decent perimeter defender in the future, despite lacking ideal athleticism for a shooting guard at the NBA level. He has shown a great sense of maturity as just a freshman and is comfortable making plays in the big moments. He is definitely someone that is ideal to be on the court at the end of games, as he provides another ball handling option, solid shooting in clutch moments, and one of the best free throw shooters you’ll find in basketball today. He has advanced ball handling skills for a shooting guard as mentioned above, and can break down defenders or create his own shot off the dribble. Overall, Gary Trent Jr. has a high ceiling, but already seems to be an NBA ready prospect with his leadership, maturity, and his advanced skill set which will translate to the league.
Weaknesses: Gary Trent Jr. is not a great athlete at the collegiate level, and may really have a hard time keeping up with big time athletes at the NBA level. Not very quick laterally or even on a straight line, but can still create his own shot to his credit. Trent Jr. may also struggle on the defensive end because of this, but he has been decent on defense for Duke this year. He definitely does not seem as engaged on defense as he does on offense though. Additionally, Gary Trent Jr. could improve upon his court vision and passing game. He’s not terrible as a feeder and is rather unselfish, but he still seems to have a score first mentality, which is not something that is good for a role player as he may end up assuming a role of that nature in the NBA. He forces issues too often, but is still under control most of the time and is not turnover prone. Lastly, Gary Trent Jr. may have issues adjusting his offensive game, even though he is a polished offensive player, as of result of his tendency to try to overpower smaller guards. At the NBA level Trent Jr will not be particularly big for a shooting guard and needs to work on his isolation game and being craftier with the ball. Too often, Trent Jr. catches the ball on the wing or baseline and defenders can already predict what he is going to do with the ball. Gary Trent Jr. has a few minor tweaks to his game, but has a lot of upside as a NBA ready player in this year’s draft class.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon/Danny Green
Being compared to NBA proven shooting guards such as Eric Gordon and Danny Green is an excellent sign for Gary Trent Jr. at this point in his career. He is a bigger, less athletic version of Eric Gordon. Both players can shoot the lights out with the ball in their hands and score in the big moments, while providing ball handling and additional play making on the offensive end. He resembles Danny Green a lot as well, but he is definitely shorter than Green is. Danny Green is primarily a spot up shooter on the offensive end, which is where Gary Trent Jr. really excels as a basketball player. Danny Green is an outstanding defensive player, whereas Trent Jr. has some questions about his athleticism and potential defensive impact at the NBA level. This is why this is not a perfect NBA comparison for Gary Trent Jr. Regardless, He should be somewhat of a blend between Eric Gordon and Danny Green in the NBA.
Many scouts believe that Gary Trent Jr. will return to Duke next year. I personally disagree with this and strongly believe he will declare for the draft this year and that he should be a guaranteed first round pick, and may even climb up into the end of the lottery in this year’s stacked draft. He has some competition with other top shooting guards such as Miami’s shooting guards in Lonnie Walker and Bruce Bown among others, but his NBA draft projection should still be relatively high as he really is a pure shooting guard. He has the rare ability and potential to really make an impact on someone’s team during his rookie year in the league, which should elevate his draft stock.
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