When Missouri coach Dennis Gates and associate head coach Charlton Young worked at Florida State, the Seminoles made it a habit to cram their roster with long, lean, and positionally malleable wings.
Maybe those players arrived on campus needing to add some weight. And perhaps their games required some polishing. But at a minimum, FSU could frustrate opponents with players who slid up and down the lineup on the defensive end, using their ample wingspans to provide heavy doses of pressure on the ball and rotating early into gaps.
Now, Gates and Young look like they’re using the same template in Columbia.
On Tuesday, Trent Pierce committed to the Tigers, becoming the second member of the 2023 class that will have at least four spots to fill. The wing, who hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, picked the Tigers over Minnesota and Oklahoma State, a pair of programs that pursued Pierce for more than a year.
When Anthony Robinson II committed almost two weeks ago, it was the fruit of a two-year process by Young. By contrast, Pierce’s courtship was fast-tracked. Gates and his staff only entered the picture within the past couple of months, hosted Pierce for an official visit in late June, and locked him down before the July period closed.
As a junior, Pierce averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds at Union High School, operating primarily as a floor-spacing wing that could work to a one-dribble pull-up or thrive as a cutter. But his defensive profile is what offers the most intrigue. During conference play for Union, Pierce faced matchups like Parker Friedrichsen, a top-130 prospect, and David Castillo, a five-star prospect in 2024 who recently suited up for USA Basketball’s U17 roster. Both times, he had the agility to navigate ball screens, stay on the hip of each player when they acted as a driver, and use his length to force contested attempts.
During last weekend’s EYBL stop in Kansas City, Pierce’s jumper went wayward (3 of 20 from 3-point range), but he still posted a 37.5 percent clip from behind the arc this grassroots season. When it’s on target, that shot sets the floor for Pierce as a 3-and-D wing with room to grow attacking off the bounce.
Let’s Meet Trent Pierce
- From: Tulsa, Oklahoma
- High School: Union HS
- Position: Wing / Combo Forward
- Ht/Wt: 6’8 / 180
- Rivals Ranking: 4-star, 107th
- 247Composite Ranking: 4-star, 80th 0.9659
- Total announced offers: 10
- Offers to note: Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Florida, Illinois
What they’re saying:
Finished the metrics for #Mizzou target Trent Pierce. And they do, in fact, drive home the idea he's a floor-spacing wing.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) July 10, 2022
Almost 44 percent of his shots are from long range. His FT rate (0.207) backs up the idea that he's mostly spacing, too. pic.twitter.com/FibfUXEgn3