When Trent and his mother had a falling out, he moved from Columbus's inner city to its outer belt to live with an aunt, Rosalyn Terrell, who had a no-nonsense attitude about child-rearing that was much like his father's. Terrell made Gary go to school every day, and he began immersing himself in basketball. "I loved the attention I got, and that made my love of the game grow," Trent says.
His low grades scared off most recruiters, but Hunter stuck with him and Trent repaid his faith by committing early to Ohio. While most freshmen struggle to adjust, Trent attacked the game headlong, his instinct for doing whatever it took to survive now channeled onto the court as well as into the classroom, where he had a 2.8 grade-point average. His sharpened sense for street hustlers also steered him clear of middlemen who, he says, approached him last summer offering cars and cash—$3,000 in one case—to transfer to schools in the Big Ten and ACC. "I was tempted," he says, "but I talked to my dad, and he said, 'That's the fast lane, and you know where that ends you up.' "
So instead of bailing out, Trent buckled down. He added a midrange jumper to his surefire short game, and for the first time his free throw shooting (75.5%) is far outstripping his accuracy from the floor (59.9%). His loyalty has also endeared him to his teammates, who gently defuse his temper when it threatens to get the best of him. "Sometimes Gary looks for immediate success, and he gets frustrated if he doesn't get it," says senior guard Chad Estis. "We try to get him to step back and look at the big picture."
Trent has reconciled with his mom and remains close to his dad. After successfully appealing his sentence last spring, Dexter got his life term reduced, and he is scheduled to be released from prison this May after 614 years in jail. Dexter has never seen his son play, but over the years Gary has mailed all his press clippings to his father. "I've been down a long time, but I wake up every day and he makes me smile," Dexter says from prison. "I haven't seen him play, but I've imagined it. That's why I walk the straight line now, so I can finally see my dream."