Gary Trent Jr. hasn’t scored 40-plus points in a game since high school.
No, not in his two-and-a-half years with the Portland Trail Blazers organization either.
But now a member of the Toronto Raptors, Trent Jr. is soaking up the opportunity to showcase his game and everything he has learned from the players around him. That includes his former teammates and mentors like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Following his historic outing on Saturday, in which he scored 44 points on just 17 of 19 shooting in the Raptors 135-115 win over the Cavaliers, Trent Jr. shared how his ex-teammates helped pave the way to his success with Toronto.
“Like I said, in Portland, I was obviously in the situation I was in, the players I’m playing behind, I’m playing behind for a reason,” Trent Jr. explained after the blowout victory. “They are who they are. They great players. But all I did was work and watch them, learn as much from them as I could. Now, I’m getting an opportunity to take everything that I took from the Portland Trail Blazers organization and the teammates that were with the Portland organization, you know as in my work ethic, my approach to the game, you know everything...
Trent Jr.’s 89.5% FG shooting was also the second-highest field goal percentage of any player with 44+ points in a game during the shot clock era (1954-55), trailing only Mike Woodson (48 PTS on 91.7 FG%) in 1983, per NBA History.
In just nine games played for Toronto, three of Trent Jr.’s 10 highest-scoring games have come while donning a Raptors uniform. Most recently, he dropped a career-high 31 points on OKC on March 31. Then, Saturday night, he went off for a new career-high of 44 points.
All those minutes watching some of the clutchest players in the game in Lillard and McCollum appeared to have paid off. Pour it on ‘em, Gary.