The Duke Blue Devils pulled off a miraculous comeback Monday night against the Miami Hurricanes. While multiple factors lead to the Miami meltdown, it was freshman Shooting Guard Gary Trent Jr. that provided the consistency and leadership normally seen by upperclassman.
The Apple Valley, Minnesota native carried the Blue Devils scoring 30 points while shooting 6 of 9 from three point range. Trent Jr.’s sharpshooting was the lone highlight offensively for the first 30 minutes of the Monday’s ACC showdown. While fellow freshman phenom’s like Marvin Bagley and Wendall Carter tend to steal the headlines it has been Trent Jr.’s consistent play that has been the backbone of the Duke frontline. Grayson Allen and Trevon Duvall continue to be inconsistent on both ends of the court, while Trent Jr. continues to be the most reliable guard option for Coach K. Trent Jr. brings the skill and poise of a veteran, with 1:23 left in the game Miami down 73-70 Trent Jr. was the one that stepped into a top of the key three and sealed the deal for the Blue Devils. His ability to sink a shot of that magnitude without a second thought was a defining moment in the still young season. It is time for Duke to utilize their dynamic shooting guard in new roles.
As ACC play continues to intensify Duke will have to have better guard play, with Grayson Allen’s jumper a complete mess and Trevon Duvall’s poor decision making, Trent Jr. will have to be the player Duke relies on in clutch situations. When Duvall gets in his own head Coach K has to move Trent Jr. to the point if he wants this young team to make a real impact in March. While Trent Jr. may be more effective play the contrary role in the offense, his level headed decision making can be an asset when things begin to unravel. The movement to the point can allow fellow shooters freshman Alex O’Connell and Grayson Allen play their more familiar roles.
Gary Trent Jr. won’t be the highest draft pick on this Duke team, he may not have the best career, but he brings so much intelligence to the game of basketball. In today’s basketball sharpshooters with length have become the new blue print of success, he may not stay at Duke for as long as he should but if he does give the fans a chance to watch him develop we could see a guy that becomes one of the best Duke players of all time.