Even after I reached Montlake a good 90 minutes before the Huskies’ first spring practice of 2010, I was still shaking my head.
Clarence Trent in football?
Maybe it’s because I have a little more background on Trent than most reporters. Saw him star at River Ridge High in basketball as a ninth grader. Saw him put down two of the most incredible dunks in a state tournament with Gig Harbor High as a 10th grader.
Our Eric D. Williams wrote an in-depth story on Trent early in 2009 about the teenager’s travels to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, then to The Patterson School in North Carolina.
Needless to say, Trent has bounced around.
Which is ask this question: What’s not to say he’ll continue to bounce around between the sports at the UW?
Nobody is questioning Trent’s athletic traits. He’s long. I imagine his vertical jump approaches 40 inches. As UW coach Steve Sarkisian pointed out after practice Monday, he fits the defensive-end prototype, in terms of body shape and physical skill set.
But what is needed most in this endeavor is a firm commitment – something Trent hasn’t exactly displayed over the years.
I imagine that is a conversation Sarkisian and Trent (as well as defensive coordinator Nick Holt) have already had. And I don’t think the football staff would have made this move if it wasn’t convinced Trent was in this thing for the long haul.
Then there is a bigger message here, something I brought up with the boys Monday (OK, the Associated Press’s Tim Booth and the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) in the press quarters?
Does Trent’s move to football mean it’s OK for a Kavario Middleton or a Devin Aguilar to pursue an opportunity in basketball?
Both my colleagues brought up the same suggestion, which made the most sense. Any movement in that direction should – and would – likely be on an individual basis.
I saw Middleton, the former Lakes High star, at a couple community college basketball games this winter. His brother, Roberto Diver, played at Pierce College.
I asked Middleton if he missed basketball enough to consider wanting to look into playing with the Huskies. He politely indicated that option really wasn’t on the table as long as he was on the football team. In other words, Sarkisian wasn’t the least bit approving.
It isn’t difficult to see why. Middleton’s tenure, to say the least, has been up-and-down. He’s a good dude, has a good heart, is extremely talented at tight end. But his work ethic and motivation are in constant question.
But what about a guy like Aguilar, who not only has the basketball skill to play at the UW, but is closer to a model football citizen Sarkisian desires? Complaints about the receiver from Colorado, on and off the field, are few and far between. So would he be allowed to become a two-sport athlete, if he so chose?
This is a recycled argument. Nate Robinson tried football for a year before settling on basketball. Charles Frederick did both sports. But for a new football coach in Sarkisian, trying to rebuild a proud program, this subject will be interesting to monitor in the coming months.