Top 10 Duke basketball shooters of the past decade: No. 8 Gary Trent Jr.
I mentioned earlier that there would be another one-and-done to make the list, and here he is. Gary Trent Jr. has recently grabbed the attention of NBA fans everywhere by displaying his outside shooting prowess for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA’s bubble. Trent Jr. has emerged as an integral piece of Portland’s offense after playing very few minutes as a rookie.
While the emergence of Trent Jr. may be a surprise to people in the NBA circle, it is no surprise to Duke basketball fans. Trent Jr. played on a team that was not great at outside shooting. He and Grayson Allen were Duke’s only real 3-point threats. Guys like Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. got a lot of the credit for the success of that Duke team. However, without Trent Jr., Duke would have had a much more difficult time advancing all the way to the Elite Eight.
Trent Jr. had a great shooting year in his lone season with the Blue Devils. He led the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage at 40.2 percent. He also finished top five in the ACC in 3-point field goals made with 97 and in 3-point field goal attempts with 241. What made Trent Jr. such a good shooter was his confidence. He never hesitated to fire up another shot no matter how many he missed or made.
He had the utmost confidence in his shooting abilities, and he always seemed to believe that his shot was going to go in. Trent Jr. gets great balance on his shot, has a high release, and puts almost the perfect spin on the ball. His outside shooting heroics provided a great complement to the inside threat that Bagley III and Carter Jr. provided.
Trent Jr. had four games where he knocked down six 3-pointers. Nobody has been able to accomplish that same feat in the two seasons since he moved on to the NBA. Gary Trent Jr. was not only an efficient outside shooter, but he was also a clutch shooter. One of the six 3-point outings came in a tough road game against Miami. He totaled 30 points, including a dagger three from the top of the key, sealing the victory.
Gary Trent Jr. also showed up when the games mattered the most. In a Sweet 16 battle against Syracuse, he didn’t have his best shooting night, but he connected on a tough floater in the lane that extended Duke’s lead to five with under a minute left. Whenever Trent Jr. caught the ball, you had a good feeling about it going in.