Gary Trent Jr. would be among the top basketball players in the nation no matter where he played.
Trent, a Duke signee ranked as the No. 8 player in the ESPN 100, moved from Apple Valley (Minn.) to Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) at the start of the school year and has continued to dominate against Prolific’s national schedule.
Trent has become a more diversified player, not just scoring, but rebounding, passing and defending.
“The transition has been pretty smooth,” said Trent, a 6-5 shooting guard. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to come to Napa, Calif., and play for a fantastic program. It’s done nothing but prep me for college next year and that was the point of coming here. It’s really taught me time management and dealing with traveling every weekend and still putting up numbers. It has continued to prep me for everything I can look forward to in college.”
Before he gets to Duke, Trent is among the players selected for the McDonald’s All American Game on March 29 in Chicago. Trent received his honorary jersey Friday as part of the McDonald’s Hometown Heroes presented by American Family Insurance before Prolific faces Aspire Academy (Phoenix) as part of the Grind Session’s Crush in the Valley.
“It’s a dream come true,” Trent said of being selected. “I’ve wanted this for a long, long time. It’s one of the accomplishments I’ve been working for since I was a little kid and watching the game every year. It’s a special feeling and I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to showcase my basketball talents on national television.”
Even though the McDonald’s game is essentially an all-star game with only days to prepare, Trent said he plans to treat it like “a championship game.”
“I’m not looking at it like an all-star game,” he said. “I want to have fun, but there are NBA scouts there and people watching on television. I want show how I can play with great players and how I’ve continued to develop my game and all the things I’ve been working on.”
While the long-discussed package deal with Trent and Michael Porter Jr. did not happen, the two will be on the same team against the McDonald’s game. Porter, who plays for Nathan Hale (Seattle), is committed to Washington.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Michael Porter,” Trent said. “I’ve known him since second grade and we were on the same AAU team in second, third, fourth grade, all the way through elementary school. It will be good to reconnect with a longtime good friend.”
As for Duke, Trent is keeping close watch on the Blue Devils, who are 15-5 and ninth in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I have their schedule and I’m keeping up with everything,” Trent said. “I see the losses and wins. I’ve been talking to the coaches and getting an idea of what’s going on. I can’t wait to get there. I’m really looking at it as if I have a magnifying glass to see everything I can and … taking it in.”