Trent Jr didn’t arrive without some skepticism and built-in resentment from Raptor’s fans due to the departure of a longtime fan favourite in Norman Powell. Those emotions were soon replaced by positive ones when Trent Jr’s excitement for the new opportunity started to shine through. That and his play on the court. Gary struggled in his first two games with the Raps but it was clear he was no stranger to adversity. At only 22 he took the transition of being traded in stride when he exploded for a career-high 31 points to go along with six threes. Any young basketball player should try to mimic Trent’s transition if they are sharing the experience of joining a new team. The acceptance of adversity and recognition of it as a chance to grow and improve is everything, and Gary has done this perfectly.
Trent Jr’s success with the Raptors can also be attributed to understanding and welcoming his role. He knows that he doesn’t need to be the Raptor’s volume shooter, he has to defend, shoot the three, and bring intensity and energy to a struggling team. He is certainly checking off all of the above so far, shooting 39% from three on the season and bringing the energy on the defensive side of the floor. He also laid claim to the second highest plus/minus rating ever recorded in a monster win against the Golden State Warriors, boasting a +54 rating. Understanding who you are as a player and how you can best help the team is arguably the most important aspect of championship caliber rosters. This is something that young hoopers can learn from and implement at any level. To be cliché, the name on the front is more important than the name on the back, and Gary Trent Jr recognizes this.
As well, Trent Jr definitely knows how to play to the crowd, and he’s done this multiple times in his short-lived tenure. He showed up to his first post with the Raptors decked out in their global ambassador Drake’s OVO gear. Not a bad first impression to make on the job. He then was spotted outside the Raptor’s temporary Tampa arena sporting a custom Toronto Blue Jays jersey as if he couldn't get any cooler in the eyes of Toronto sports fans. Basketball fans and players young and old should pay close attention to Gary Trent Jr and the way he has handled the adversity of getting traded. He has handled it in stride, using the new opportunity with the Raptors to showcase his skill and potential along with winning over the hearts of fans across Canada with his swagger and ability. On or off the court, Trent Jr’s display of heart and energy is something that not only those from the basketball world but anywhere can use as inspiration to fight through adversity. WATCH Gary Trent Jr!