With 2016 local phenom Amir Coffey sitting out this summer as he rehabilitates a torn ACL, fellow four-star recruit, 2017’s Gary Trent has taken a greater role on Howard Pulley – the Elite Youth Basketball League squad made up mostly of Minnesota players.
Trent is making the most of the opportunity.
Although Howard Pulley currently sits seventh in Division D – out of qualification for the Peach Jam – the 6-4 Apple Valley star is thriving individually. He currently leads the EYBL in scoring, averaging 22.1 points per game as he dominates off the bounce and from the perimeter. And college coaches are noticing: Trent has already accumulated eight offers – Minnesota included – as the summer before his junior year heats up.
“I take pride in my all-around game and scoring,” Trent said at the Maple Grove session in late May. “I log a lot of hours in the gym, and I’m just happy to be playing at a high level.”
This weekend, Trent added Kansas to a pile of offers that includes Michigan State, Ohio State, Texas Tech, Alabama, Providence, Florida State and the Gophers and recently Duke and Kentucky began courting him as well.
The competition is stiff – Trent said the Spartans are going after him the hardest right now – but the Gophers staff has thrown its hat into the ring in what could ultimately be one of the defining recruitments of the Richard Pitino era.
Trent has been on campus a few times – his only unofficial visit so far – attending the Purdue football game last fall, and has gotten to know assistant Ben Johnson, who has taken the lead on Minnesota’s recruitment efforts.
“He’s very cool, we have a great relationship,” Trent said of Johnson. “Hopefully – there are more years – we can keep growing it.”
Trent keeps growing as well. Surrounded by worthy mentors, the shooting guard, who has sprouted an inch in the last year, is only getting more consistent and lethal with his shots from distance and is improving his pass game as well. He benefits from the training of a nine-year NBA veteran – his dad, Gary Trent Sr. He gets advice from former AAU and high school teammate Tyus Jones, who won the national championship with Duke last year and is now entering the NBA draft. But when Trent talks about his goals, he pieces together a bionic basketball player of sorts. He wants Stephen Curry’s shot. Kobe Bryant’s mindset. LeBron James’ power.
And perhaps a blend unique only to Trent.
The elder Trent – who didn’t play organized basketball until high school – didn’t have the same background, lacking ball handling and shooting skills as an undersized post-up center, but the father has become an apt teacher in the areas he fell short.
“He gave me everything I know,” his son said. “Every move, every step-back, every jump shot I shoot is from him.”