By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The NBA draft is Thursday, and next year at this time we may be talking about another Minnesotan going in the first round.

Gary Trent Jr. went to a prep school in California after playing at Apple Valley High School. He’ll play at Duke this season, and he’s got an NBA veteran as his personal coach — his dad.

Gary Trent is working with his son, Gary Trent Jr., as he has been intently for the past 13 years. That’s when the commitment started.

“We joke around a lot,” Trent Jr. said. “Sometimes it gets serious, sometimes he gets mad, sometimes I get mad, but we’ve been making it work for a long, long time now. We’ve been going at it since I was about 5 years old.”

He’s been on this path nearly since preschool, and got on the national radar at Apple Valley High school. But the word that keeps coming back is sacrifice — hours at the gym, and at times giving up a social life.

“We started so young, I think by 8, 9, 10 years old, he understood it,” Trent Sr. said. “You know, ‘If I’m going to a birthday party, it’s going to have to be a non-tournament weekend.'”

His father had to work his way to the NBA and the lottery, and he expects the same from his legendary coach at Duke this fall — Coach K.

“Hard-nosed, getting up into you, telling you what you need to do when you’re messing up — same thing my dad did,” Trent Jr. said.

It all takes shape on the practice court — nothing fancy, just repetition.

“Your confidence comes from trusting your work,” Trent Sr. said. “There’s no way we come to the gym and do two-a-days, Monday through Friday, you’ll have anywhere from 800 to 1,200 makes.”

The ultimate goal is to make Target Center one of his homes as a lottery pick as early next year in the NBA.

“That’s what I’m working for,” Trent Jr. said. “I’ve been dreaming of that moment for a long, long time. So I just got to continue to work it, and maybe, through the grace of God, hopefully I can make it.”


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