The 2016-2017 Duke Men’s Basketball season was nothing short of a rollercoaster. While the end result may have been disappointing to Blue Devil fans, Coach K has assembled yet another stellar recruiting class for the 2017-2018 campaign. That class includes the explosive shooting guard, Gary Trent Jr.
There is no question that Duke will enter the 2017-2018 season with a completely different look from last year’s squad, with Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Luke Kennard, and Frank Jackson all declaring for the draft. Duke will also be without the services of Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson (graduated) in addition to Chase Jeter and Sean Obi (transfer).
One man the Devils will turn to for points is shooting guard, Gary Trent Jr. According to ESPN’s Top 100, Trent Jr. is a 5-star recruit and the No. 7 recruit in the class of 2017. Trent Jr. hails from Apple Valley, MN, hometown of former Blue Devil and national champion, Tyus Jones. Trent Jr. comes from a basketball family; his father, Gary Trent Sr. played 9 seasons in the NBA.
What does Gary Trent Jr. bring to Duke?
Gary Trent Jr. is a pure scorer who can get buckets in a variety of ways. Trent Jr.’s strength is in transition. He excels at pushing the tempo where he can drive into the lane and score. At 6-5 and 210 pounds, Trent Jr. is big for the shooting guard position, allowing him to take smaller defenders rim where he can initiate and finish through contact.
Trent Jr. can also knock down jump shots from distance. He has a beautiful stroke with a quick release. His height will allow him to pull up over smaller defenders, and his eagerness to run in transition make him an option to pull up for a transition three.
Where does Gary Trent Jr. fit in the Duke lineup?
Coach K has several options for where he can play Trent Jr. Grayson Allen will likely be Duke’s starting shooting guard, with fellow freshman Trevon Duval manning the point. Duke’s biggest question for the coming season will be at the small forward. Trent Jr. will likely serve as a sixth man for Coach K, coming off the bench for Allen and Duval. However, it would not be surprising to see all three guards on the floor at the same time, similar to the small lineup we saw last year with Frank Jackson, Allen, and Luke Kennard.
In any case, Gary Trent Jr. will create mismatches and exploit them. Trent Jr. has the looks of a freshman that can immediately put up double-digits nightly. We are looking forward to seeing what this explosive player can bring to yet another promising Duke squad.