Portland Trail Blazers: Gary Trent Jr. discusses offseason and more

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 21: Gary Trent Jr. #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on before Game Four of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 21: Gary Trent Jr. #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on before Game Four of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

We got the chance to sit down and talk with Portland Trail Blazers budding star about what he’s been up to this summer, among other things.

Many Portland Trail Blazers fans have been practically foaming at the mouth waiting to see more from Gary Trent Jr. After scoring 19 points in last year’s season finale against Sacramento and a dominant performance in the Summer League where he averaged 20.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, Trent Jr. finally seems ready to leave his own imprint on the league.

You asked, we listened.

Gary is not one to coast off his father’s name and NBA pedigree, he has put the work in at every step to get to where he is today. He’s ready to step into the spotlight next season and accept a larger role for the Blazers. But he knows as well as anyone he has to earn his way up the ladder. He took a little time out of his intense training regimen to answer a few questions for Rip City Project and update the fans on what he’s been up to this summer.

Rip City Project: You’ve impressed many people with the huge strides you’ve made in your game thus far, seen by your dominant performance in the Las Vegas Summer League. What specific part of your game have you been working on developing this summer?

Gary Trent Jr.: All summer I’ve been working on my all-around game, especially shooting, passing, dribbling, defense, and finishing around the rim. Doing anything I can to make sure when an opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready.

RCP: Coming off the heels of a trip to the Western Conference Finals, fans already have lofty expectations for next year’s Portland Trail Blazers team. Do you have any specific individual goals you are setting for yourself entering your sophomore season?

GTJ: This season I’m looking forward to accomplishing many personal goals I have, such as learning more about the game from my coaches and veterans on the team, competing and getting better every day as an all-around player and teammate, and also winning and bringing a championship back to the city of Portland.

RCP: Portland is often cited as one of the nicest cities in the US to visit. As a pro basketball player, you get the opportunity to tour the country. Outside of Portland, which city is your favorite to visit while playing and why?

GTJ: Outside of Portland, other cities I enjoy playing basketball in would have to be New York and Los Angeles. Playing in historic arenas like Madison Square Garden just brings a little more out of you on the court and makes you realize that you really have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel the world playing the sport you love, something you can’t ever take for granted.

RCP: It’s no secret your father has had a big influence on your basketball career. However, which teammate — whether they be from prep school, Duke, or in Portland — has had the biggest impact on you as a player?

GTJ: Jordan Bolton, my best friend since 6th grade, has impacted me the most as a player ever since we played together as kids. He’s motivated me to be the best player I can possibly be and inspires me every day as he relearns how to walk after an accident he had during my freshman year at Duke. His positivity and perseverance pushes me to never give up and be the best I can be both on and off the court. #Play4jb

RCP: Speaking of your pops, how do you think you’d fare in a game of one-on-one against your old man in his prime?

GTJ: Given that it’s his prime, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that in a game of one-on-one playing to 11 at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds being as explosive, quick, and as strong as he was… He might score 5 points on me with the final score being 11-5.

Next. Building Blazers All-Decade Team (2010-19). dark

I’d like to offer Gary a huge thank you for taking the time to talk to us during his busy offseason schedule and to his agent Danielle Cantor for setting this up. The Portland Trail Blazers have an underrated gem on their hands here who could end up making a big difference during next year’s championship chase.