It has been a productive spring for Gary Trent Jr., both on and off the hardwood. The 16-year-old is posting big numbers against 17-U Nike EYBL competition, as well as picking up a flurry of college offers, including Michigan State and Ohio State on the weekend of the Lexington Preview in April.
After two weekends, the 6' 5" youngster is averaging 20.6 points a game for the Howard Pulley All-Stars (MN). He ranks sixth in the league in scoring. In a game April 25 against Team Texas Elite, Trent dropped 36 points. It was a shooting clinic. He was 10-of-15 from the field, including 8-of-12 from beyond the arc and 8-of-9 from the foul line.
Trent Jr. is on the heels of winning a Class 4-A Minnesota State Championship in March. It was the school's first-ever championship as Apple Valley defeated unbeaten Champlin Park 64-61, something 2014 Duke signee Tyus Jones was unable to accomplish. However, we all know what the Blue Devils did in Indianapolis.
Trent Jr. played alongside Jones his freshman season, averaging 10 points per game en route to a 27-2 record. This season he averaged 21.3 points and guided his team to the "Promise Land" with a 30-2 mark.
It is early in the recruiting process of Trent Jr., but he has received seven offers, including Alabama, Florida State, Minnesota, and Texas Tech, to name a few. In addition, Duke, Arizona, Purdue, and Wisconsin are showing strong interest.
And the Trent Jr. sweepstakes will continue to gain momentum. He's the top player in Minnesota, the No. 15 shooting guard and the No. 70 overall prospect in the national 2017 recruiting class. And expect those numbers to rise before Gary leaves Apple Valley in two years.
Its difficult to judge his college position because he still has room to grow. His father, Gary Trent Sr., is 6' 8" and played power forward for Ohio University in college and then eleven seasons in the NBA for Portland, Toronto, Dallas, and Minnesota. Trent Jr. might grow to be as tall or taller than his father.
Regardless, the kid can shoot just like his daddy. The apple didn't fall far from the tree in this scenario and Trent is a strong and talented wing that can make plays off the ball and hit open jumpers. He runs the floor on the break and can finish. Trent Jr. is also very unselfish, as evident in the state final when he only scored 15 points, but enough to win.
The kid with the 6' 6" wingspan obviously favors Thad Matta and the Buckeyes. He grew up in Columbus until he was 11-years-old before moving to Apple Valley. When Trent Sr. played at Ohio University, his teammate was Jeff Boals, one of Matta's assistant coaches. Boals dropped the hint to check out this lanky kid from Saint Paul. Besides, Ohio State will be in need of wing players that can shoot.
Check out the video of this sharpshooter, who has yet to tap the ceiling of his potential. Notice the touch he has on mid-range jumpers, a dying craft these days.
According to 24/7 Sports and its Crystal Ball Predictions, Trent Jr. will land in Columbus, Ohio. It makes sense. Jeff Boals' presence can't be ignored. He is like a second father-figure to Gary and that can only benefit Ohio State. And if that's the case, the Buckeyes will be out of scholarships until 2018.
Trent Jr. told Bill Landis (Northeast Ohio Media Group) in a recent interview:
It can help a lot because if you go to play for them [Ohio State], it's almost like playing for an uncle in a sense. You're comfortable, you know what he's about, you know what he stands for. It helps a lot.
The writing is on the wall.