Gary Trent Jr. discusses where he wants to improve during the offseason, the Raptors just getting started with their core and why he appreciates Toronto and the organization so much.
- Now you've got a full season here under your belt. How much did that experience last? Obviously it's a different situation in Tampa, a different type of season. But that sort of help prepare you for what you had to face this year with this organization?
GARY TRENT JR.: You would kind of say that. Kind of. Up and down with everything, with COVID, and everything we did throughout the season. But again, it was a good season, it was a great season. Equivalent to Tampa. Your cards you were dealt with, you dealt with it. Went out there and did your best.
- Even just in terms of the comfort level with the organization, knowing what was expected, what they expect from you, what you expect from them?
GARY TRENT JR.: Oh most definitely. Obviously getting acquainted and being around each other day in and day out. Seeing how everybody work and seeing how everything going, it was great. It was cool.
- How long does it take, to after the season to mentally unplug? How much time do you give before you're focusing on you're going to do for the summer or the next season?
GARY TRENT JR.: For sure. I probably would say about two weeks off, about a week and a half and get right. Get away for a little bit from the game, relax my body, get my body back right. chill out. That's probably about it.
- Gary, when you look around the room, look around the team, do you go into [INAUDIBLE] with a lot of confidence or optimism about the direction it takes?
GARY TRENT JR.: Most definitely, what we did this year was great. everybody got acquainted, got each other's games, grew together, growing pains. Went through some tough times, some good times. So it was fun, just with this playoff experience, we got along with that too. It was big for everybody, especially individually guys like Scottie and myself, everybody. So it just helps keep going, build.
- Does it feel there's potential or are you guys at a level-- did you reach your level or do you think there's more to come?
GARY TRENT JR.: Most definitely, we could tap into a whole other level. Barely scratching the surface of what we can do, what we could become. But like I said, we'll continue to work to get there.
- What makes you say that?
GARY TRENT JR.: The belief. I see the work. I actually believe in what we're doing here. I see what we do day in and day out, whether it's defensive schemes, whether it's practice, whether it's the approach, whether it's recovery everything.
- Someone took note of-- may have been the coaching style last offseason, talking to you about it becoming more defensive oriented, player-- how far do you think you got in that this year. And how far do you think you need to go?
GARY TRENT JR.: I would say I took a step. I took a big step. Obviously I'm going to continue to work, continue to get better. Obviously, more experienced as I continue to go. Study the game more, get better. Continue to tap into a whole other level on the defensive end.
- Gary, what specifically are you going to focus on in the offseason?
GARY TRENT JR.: Everything, all around game, finishing, dribbling, defense, approach, wear my body even more. Do different things, working, continue to do yoga, different type of stuff to help my body stay ready.
- Gary, when you look at this playoff series-- obviously games 1 and 2 you were sick, and they kind of targeted you. Last night, they kind of targeted you. Is that the thing you take personally going into this offseason? [INAUDIBLE]
GARY TRENT JR.: For sure, but take it. I take it. I'll take all it, all day. Continue to take on the challenge of guarding anybody, compete with anybody, and showcasing what I can do on the offensive end and the defensive end.
- Gary, what did it mean to you to you have a pretty big role in the team this year? Just being in the starting lineup for pretty much every game, what did that mean to you?
GARY TRENT JR.: Man, everything. It was great. For them to give me the opportunity to showcase my work, to showcase what I could do, and all I've ever asked for was opportunity. So I felt like whatever the cards are dealt with, deal with it, and it was going to be what it's going to be. Just go out there and do the best of my abilities.
- What have you learned about the city of Toronto? You're here now, being here. What do you like about it, and is there any experiences that you want to share of things you've done here?
GARY TRENT JR.: Yeah, it's a fine city. It's a great city. There's a lot going on here. Loving sports teams, nothing but love everywhere you go around the city. And the best place I done play so far fanwise. And everything that comes with it, organization-wise. I really enjoy myself here.
- Gary, there's always some level of uncertainty going into an offseason, and obviously with the business of basketball, things can happen. But all five of you guys, starters, are under contract. I know they signed Bobby, contacted the trade deadline about really being committed to you guys, and letting you grow, and seeing where you guys can go. Is that reassuring to know that while there might be some additions you guys, as a four, will likely be together?
GARY TRENT JR.: You could say that, most definitely. But at the end of day, it's a business. So you can only control what you can control, and that's your work you put in. So it's either put in your work, no matter what happens, no matter where you go, it'll always be able to thrive.
- Gary, you're always so laser focused on this game or the task ahead. I'm wondering, do you get that from your dad?
GARY TRENT JR.: I don't really--
- Because he's been more boisterous, but I'm wondering--
- Both are great, but I was thinking that he actually is that you don't see, or where do you get that from?
GARY TRENT JR.: I don't even know. I don't know, just being locked in on a task or whatever I'm doing. Taking care of it, looking at it as a business approach, no matter what it is. Business-like, serious.
- So let me ask you this. So when you look at game one and two, when you were really not feeling good, then you look at the other games that you did really well, is his message always the same to you or is it kind of like both [INAUDIBLE] more?
GARY TRENT JR.: No, his message always the same, no matter what point he's trying to get across. Whether it's good criticism or bad. It's mostly bad, being tough, but that's about it.
- I hope you get along for popcorn.
GARY TRENT JR.: For sure, now he eat all the snacks. Yeah.
- Gary what did you learn most watching Scottie develop this year?
GARY TRENT JR.: I seen him grow from the day one of training camp to the end of the season. It was tremendous, the things that he was able to showcase, the things he was able to do just in his first year alone. The sky's the limit. After a summer work, after getting this season under his belt, I can't wait to see how he come back next year.
- With him, because he has so many skills, do you even picture what he looks like fully formed?
GARY TRENT JR.: No, you can't. Sky's the limit. Obviously, he's going to continue to put in the work, he going to continue to chase greatness, and he can be whatever he want to be.
- Is there one guy that you learned the most from this year?
GARY TRENT JR.: I wouldn't really say, learn the most from, but have I seen the work, and how they put in, and their approach every day? Most definitely have to be Pascal. See how he comes. He's working no matter what. Good game, bad game he's staying true to himself. Definition of a real pro approach to the game.
- Is that how you prefer leadership? There's lots of guys that are a little bit more hopeful and kind of talk to you before again. Or there's other guys that lead by example. What do you think you resonate most with?
GARY TRENT JR.: Myself or-- really everything. Being a leader, watching leaders. For you to be a leader, you know you've got to see other leaders be great leaders. But that really is about it.
- Gary, what have you learned from Scotty about hugging?
GARY TRENT JR.: About hugging? Man, he just super excited, super touchy, you know he spread love all day. So it's good. It's a good thing to spread love, for sure.
- What has Nick Nurse meant to you as a coach?
GARY TRENT JR.: Nurse? He meant a lot. In a year and a half, two years, he's been coaching me so far. He gave me unbelievable amount of opportunity. I can never-- thank him for now, forever grateful for that. Just about it. I can never be-- grateful.
- Is there a difference mentally? Do you feel like you're in the right institution? You talked about how happy you've been here, for a player Making sure it's the right job for you. How much of a difference does that make for you mentally? Waking up, [INAUDIBLE].
GARY TRENT JR.: For sure. It's a big difference. When you can go to work and do something you enjoy every day, you're having fun, you're around good company. It makes it fun. It makes work easier. It's not even work. It's just you're coming in and doing what you love to do. So it's a great place, it was a great year, and looking forward to the rest keep going.