Ohio State has actively recruited Gary Trent Jr. since September, but OSU's relationship with the Minnesota product dates back to his childhood.
Because of the implication, it's natural to assume Gary Trent Sr. – the "Shaq of the MAC" – is his father. It is true, and it means Buckeyes assistant Jeff Boals has an inherent advantage over most other coaches in recruiting Trent Jr.
Both Boals and Trent Sr. attended Ohio University from 1992-1995, a three-season span in which Trent Sr. completely dominated the MAC. He averaged over 22 points and 11 rebounds in his college career and now has his jersey hanging from the Convocation Center's rafters. He also played nine seasons in the NBA, the last three of which he spent with the Timberwolves.
Prior to moving back to Minnesota, and during part of his professional career, the Trent family lived in Trent Sr.'s hometown of Columbus. So, even without the connection to Boals, the Buckeyes have that in their favor while recruiting his son.
But since Boals knows the family personally, he is the obvious choice to lead Trent Jr.'s recruitment.
"I've known him since I was about seven years old," Trent Jr. told Cleveland.com. "He's always been around my family. He's almost like a brother in a sense to my dad, they call each other brother. They talk to each other a couple times a month, so it's a good relationship."
This past weekend, it wasn't just a conversation to catch up with an old friend. Trent Jr. learned he officially received an offer from Ohio State (via Howard Pulley AAU chairman Errol Carlstrom):
Trent Jr. is currently averaging 20.6 points per game with Howard Pulley, sixth best on the EYBL circuit. He's listed as a shooting guard, but the four-star prospect can create for others.
"Trent is a strong and talented wing that can make plays off the bounce and hit open jumpers with range to the arc when his feet are set," according to ESPN.com's scouting report. "He is a unselfish player that is an excellent passer. He knows how to keep the ball moving with his excellent feel for the game."
Preparing for Williams-Goss
Unless they want to take a graduate transfer for the upcoming season, Ohio State cannot add to the current roster or its recruiting classes for the next two years.
So, it makes sense for the Buckeyes to focus on Trent Jr., when they'll likely have at least one free scholarship for him in 2017. Naturally, Thad Matta will remain interested in 2016 recruits in the event a scholarship opens up.
A potential dilemma is presenting itself in the form of Nigel Williams-Goss. The Washington transfer has two years of eligibility left and is forced to sit out the 2015-16 season.
The lack of available scholarships isn't quelling Ohio State's interest in him, however:
Nigel Williams-Goss told @CBSSports he will visit Ohio State on 5/8. Visits Gonzaga this weekend. Also considering PC + UNLV. List cut to 4.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 28, 2015
I can't remember a time in which Matta oversigned and it isn't typical for a college basketball coach to do it – that has never stopped Tom Crean from doing so, though.
If the OSU staff believes they need more scoring punch, a more experienced point guard and can make it work within the confines of a 13-man scholarship limit, Williams-Goss is a perfect fit. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds during his sophomore season. Those numbers came with a two-percent drop in his overall shooting percentage and a steep, ten-percent dip in his three-point shooting efficiency as compared to his freshman season.
His individual numbers are strong but it did not translate to team success. The Huskies went 33-30 the past two seasons and did not make the NCAA Tournament in either year.
Williams-Goss made his intentions clear – he wants to transfer to a winning program.
"I’m really looking for just a situation one where I know it’s high intensity. It’s a program and a culture that’s built on preparing to win and competing to win," Williams-Goss told the Seattle Times. "I know you’re not always going to do those things, but that’s just kind of the mindset. Obviously, going somewhere I still will have a big role."
It's worth noting, although not necessarily for recruitment purposes, Williams-Goss attended Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nevada) with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson.
Around The B1G, King Drops OSU
- Gahanna Lincoln's Nick Ward, recently offered by the Buckeyes, committed to Michigan State. The four-star power forward is the first member of MSU's 2016 class.
- Former St. Vincent-St.Mary wing V.J. King released his top five schools, via his Instagram. Ohio State did not make the list, probably due to a combination of a lack of recent contact and available scholarships.