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Originally published January 9, 2012 at 9:39 PM | Page modified January 10, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Seattle U's Clarence Trent gets back on familiar court

Trent will face Washington, his former team, for the first time at 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Huskies host the Redhawks in the latest entry in a cross-city matchup that began in 1953.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Wearing scarlet red with the words "Seattle U" across his chest, Clarence Trent walked into Edmundson Pavilion on Monday and embraced Washington forward Darnell Gant.

During Trent's one year with the Huskies, he and Gant built a friendship that has endured even though they're no longer teammates.

"I was there for him when he went through all the stuff and was thinking about leaving," Gant said. "I was kind of one of his guides to help him through that, because that was a tough time for him.

"I'm just happy that he's in the situation that he's in."

Now a standout for Seattle University, Trent will face his former team for the first time at 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Huskies host the Redhawks in the latest entry in a cross-city matchup that began in 1953.

Trent offered a glimpse of his potential when he played with Huskies.

Explosive and powerful, the 6-6, 225-pound forward was a dynamic dunker who thrived in transition. He played multiple positions, but his versatility proved to be a liability with the Huskies.

"Washington was at a place that I loved," Trent said. "I learned a lot while I was here, but at the same time it was a situation where I wanted to get out on the floor and at the time it wasn't looking like there was a spot for me."

As a freshman, he appeared in 23 games and averaged 1.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 5.2 minutes on a team led by Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas.

The 2009-10 season was a successful year for the Huskies, who finished 26-10 and lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. But Trent, playing a supporting role, logged just three minutes in the tournament.

Before transferring, Trent tried to play for the Washington football team. That experiment ended after two weeks.

"Washington wasn't the spot for me," he said. "I talked to coach (Lorenzo) Romar and just realized that I needed a better fit."

Seattle U had provided a brief haven for one-time UW commit Charles Garcia the year before Trent arrived, but Redhawks coach Cameron Dollar says Trent's situation is different.

Trent, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and has three years of eligibility remaining, is considered one of the building blocks for a program making the transition to Division I basketball and joining the Western Athletic Conference next season.

"He is obviously a tremendous athlete, but he is untapped as a player," Dollar said. "He can do a lot of things, but he is beginning to produce.

"He's worked hard at filling the stat sheet. He's improved defensively. He's improved his rebounding. He's one of our best passers. Big-time team guy. He's just continuing to develop and I'm pleased with his progress."

Trent has started all 13 games for the Redhawks (3-10) and is second on the team averaging 11.5 points per game. He's also third in rebounding (5.0) and third in assists (1.4).

Seattle U has been able to give Trent the starring role he has always coveted.

"Clarence was a lot of fun when he was (at Washington)," Romar said. "He was trying to do what we asked him to do. Like what Desmond Simmons is doing for us right now, there were times when he was doing that for us as a freshman.

"At times we thought he was just about to turn the corner. He has an immense amount of ability."

The Huskies (9-6) are fully aware of Trent's talent. Especially Abdul Gaddy, who grew up with Trent in Tacoma.

Gaddy attended Bellarmine Prep, while Trent played as a freshman at River Ridge of Lacey and as a sophomore at Gig Harbor High.

"It's going to be fun playing against Clarence because he's one of my longtime friends," Gaddy said. "That's what makes this game so much fun. We all know each other. We grew up together so it becomes personal.

"It's going to be good competition. It's going to be bragging rights between us."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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