Trent facing great expectations

Sometimes a basketball player's pedigree can be his poison. Whether it's having a famous family member, hailing from a hoops hotbed, or going to school at a known powerhouse, sometimes just being good isn't good enough to live up to a reputation that precedes you.

Seattle University forward Clarence Trent will be carrying the weight of such legacies and expectations into his redshirt senior season of 2013-14, when his background alone will make him the Redhawks' marquee attraction.

Trent won a Pac-10 tournament title at Washington before transferring to SU. He graduated from The Patterson School (N.C.) program that produced current NBA players Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill; and before that played at Findley Prep (Nev.), the high school that has pumped out pros Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph and DeAndre Liggins.

Trent is also the one Redhawk who -- even to a non-sports fan wandering into the gym -- looks the most like a basketball star. At 6-6 and 225 pounds, he is the team's most impressive physical specimen and its best all-around athlete.

So when next season tips off and Seattle U looks to improve on its last-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference (8-22 overall, 3-15 WAC), Trent will be the first player expected to lead that charge.

But even without a background check and an eye test, Trent has the credentials to put him in pole position to be SU's next go-to guy.

Trent led the Redhawks in scoring last season (9.8 points per game) and was second on the team in rebounding (5.8 per game). He fits into coach Cameron Dollar's system as an athletic and versatile talent who can play multiple positions on the floor. And SU was often at its best when Trent played his best -- like the 18-point, 9-rebound effort he had in a season-opening win over Montana State last November, or the double-overtime loss to eventual WAC tournament champion New Mexico State in January in which Trent put up 15 points, 10 boards, three blocks and three steals.

It was no coincidence either that the areas in which Trent can improve were synonymous with SU's weaknesses as a team last season.

The Redhawks committed a conference-high 546 turnovers; Trent had a team-high 80 (tied with point guard Prince Obasi). The Redhawks were the WAC's worst free-throw shooting team at 62.5 percent; Trent converted 66 percent at the stripe, not bad but not great. The Redhawks had a knack for missing easy shots; Trent made just 40.9 percent of his field goals while primarily playing power forward. And the Redhawks' overall inconsistency and tendency to falter down the stretch could be seen in Trent's own stat lines; after scoring a season-high 22 points against Texas State on Jan. 26 (to go with eight boards and three steals), Trent reached double figures just twice over the season's final 11 games.

Thanks to the WAC's massive summer makeover -- seven schools will be leaving the conference in July, including four of last season's top five basketball teams -- and the incoming talent to Dollar's program, Seattle U is expected to be better in 2013-14.

The most visible key to that resurgence will be Trent, the program's most experienced senior. After all, he is the one who boasts the production, potential and pedigree of a star in the making.


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