FAYETTEVILLE - This time last year, Arkansas Hawks forward Clarence Trent used his scoring abilities to draw attention at the Real Deal on the Hill and receive numerous scholarship offers. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward hadn't come close to reaching his potential, though.
Last April, Trent was more of a small forward. He floated around outside of the 3-point line, refusing to use his superior size and strength to overwhelm opponents in the lane. He settled for shots and slacked at times defensively.
Basically, he showed the promise of why Arkansas coach John Pelphrey considers Trent one of his top Class of 2009 targets, but he wasn't consistent.
A season at Findlay College Prep in Las Vegas has changed much of that. At this year's Real Deal, Trent has looked the part of a legit Division I big man while still flashing the quickness and versatility of a small forward.
"He has really worked hard on his game and on his body," said Bill Ingram, the Hawks' coach. "He's worked a lot of his baby fat off, and he's moving a lot better. He realizes now what kind of player he needs to be.
"Clarence has just matured a whole lot."
Trent is the first to admit he had a lot of growing up to do. His career blossomed as a sophomore and junior at Gig Harbor (Wash.) HIgh, but his academics didn't. So instead of returning to Washington, Trent decided to transfer to Findlay College Prep School in Las Vegas.
While the upgrade in competition has tested Trent and forced him to improve in all areas, it's the off-the-court adjustments that he has embraced most.
"I've been making better decisions in all parts of my life," Trent said. "The last three years, I just wasn't doing what I should've been doing. I even flunked an English class. So, me going to prep school was the best thing for me. It's hard knowing I should be ahead of where I am with school, but it's actually helped because prep ball has tested me in so many ways."
Findlay Prep went 32-1 this season with Trent playing inside more often than out. He averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds while taking on teams loaded with other Division I prospects.
Most importantly, he developed a knack for consistent play. In previous years, Trent may not have been able to handle scoring in a limited way. But he proved in prep school and Saturday in the Real Deal that he is more than willing to contribute in other areas.
The Hawks won their first two games Saturday to finish 3-0 in pool play, and Trent scored only eight combined points in the two victories. But he grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked six shots and drew several crucial defensive assignments.
The Hawks also won their opening game of pool play late Saturday afternoon before being eliminated in the second round on Saturday night.
"I wasn't scoring much, but I was guarding the other team's best scorer," said Trent, who said he loved Arkansas but wasn't close to making a decision on where to play in college. "I can take on whatever role my coaches need now. I don't know if I would've done that last year."
Position: Power Forward
AAU Team: Arkansas Hawks
Prep School: Findlay College Prep in Las Vegas
Notables: Averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and shot 60 percent from the floor for Findlay Prep. ... Helped lead the Pilots (32-1), who had five players averaging between 11 and 13 points, to the National Prep Championship title game. ... Puts Arkansas at the top of a list of possible college destinations that includes Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, UConn, Gonzaga, Washington, Washington State, Kansas and UNLV.
REAL DEAL ON THE HILL
Locations: Bud Walton Arena, University of Arkansas HPER Building, Fayetteville High, Bentonville High, Springdale Har-Ber High, Rogers High Sophomore Center, Fayetteville Christian High, All Star Sports Arena, Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club, Ramey Junior High, Elmwood Junior High, Woodland Junior High, George Junior High, Oakdale Junior High
Dates: Starting today at 8 a.m.
Tickets: $8 for an all-day pass
For more information, including detailed schedules, go to RealDealOnTheHill.com.
A Changed Man
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