Sun Devils Leaning On Lockett
By Amber Harding
When Trent Lockett started college courses at Arizona State University, he hadn't even finished high school yet.
"I came out here for about a week for a summer class," he said. "Then, I had to fly back to graduate high school."
And since that first week at ASU, the junior guard hasn't slowed down. Lockett was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team in 2010. Last season, he earned second team all-Pac-10 honors and was named first team Pac-10 All-Academic. His nearly 50 double-digit scoring games put him among the elite of Pac-12 student-athletes.
And he takes that "student" part seriously.
Lockett is enrolled in 23 credit hours this semester at ASU. He maintains a 3.3 GPA and is working toward a degree in business communication.
"I have no idea how he does it, to be honest," Trent's mother, Judy Lockett, said. "Twenty-three credits is crazy."
But Lockett said he takes a lot of online courses and sticks to a tight schedule.
"It's all about time management and really staying on top of your stuff," he said. "But if you plan it out and you know what you have to do each day, it's doable."
Lockett said it's important for all student-athletes to focus on their education.
"Eventually, the ball's going to stop bouncing - whether it's football, basketball or soccer. You can't play forever," he said. "Learning these skills and networking while you're young is, I think, the biggest thing for athletes."
This drive has always been a part of his life. Marquise Watts coached Lockett in AAU basketball in Minnesota and has mentored him since he was a child. He remembers when Lockett got his first "bad" grade - a B+ in French - during his junior year of high school.
"He was even more competitive in the classroom than he was on the court," Watts said. "But that's just normal for him. He's just a good kid - a role model."
This competitive nature gave way to a perfectionism that, Lockett said, was difficult for him to overcome.
"I used to make mistakes and pretty much just shut down and be mad at myself," he said.
Watts agreed that Lockett was often too hard on himself.
"He's so analytical in how he looks at things, and in basketball, a lot of times it doesn't work out like you want it to," Watts said. "Trent used to have the biggest ups and the biggest slides because if he had a bad 10 minutes, it would turn into 20 minutes or carry into the next game."
To overcome this problem and to help him reach his athletic potential, Lockett began working with Shaun Goodsell, a sports psychologist in Minnesota. Lockett said he talks to Goodsell frequently over the phone and Skype, and the conversations have helped him "tremendously," both on and off the court.
"I feel like I'm such a different person because of him," Lockett said. "Whatever problems I have or whatever I think I need to work on, I come to him with it."
Goodsell has helped Lockett realize that he has to allow himself to make mistakes. Watts said he has seen this change in attitude over the past couple of years.
"He realizes he can't do everything perfectly. No one can," Watts said. "In basketball, if you miss it, you get the next one. And I think he's really, really embraced that."
Judy agreed. She said she is amazed at how positive her son has been this season.
"He's making the perfectionism work for him instead of against him," she said. "He's able to maintain a really positive attitude, given tough times."
Lockett is no stranger to adversity. At Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn., Lockett competed in one of the country's top programs. The school is a powerhouse for basketball talent, including the New Jersey Nets' Kris Humphries and ESPY-winning guard Blake Hoffarber, for whom Lockett was a backup.
"Trent was never the best player on the team, and he was never the most outspoken," Watts said. "But he listened and worked hard. I could always see his potential."
In the summer before his freshman year of high school, Lockett would spend eight to 10 hours in the gym every day.
"He just started to put in that time, and you could see evidence of it in his game," Watts said. "When he was 15 or 16, I knew he was only scratching the surface of what he'd be when he was 20 or 22."
Judy said her son was able to develop his skill partly by observing the talent around him.
"We had a basketball hoop in the driveway, and the older kids would come over and play," she said. "He'd be watching them and sitting quietly. Then when they left, he would do exactly what they just did."
But the roles have reversed. Now a junior for the Sun Devils, Lockett has grown into a leadership role for his young team.
"I really always try to do the right thing and work my hardest," Lockett said. "We lost three big seniors from last year that we really leaned on, and it kind of fell into my lap. I like to think I've really expanded on that role."
He has expanded by evolving from not only a leader by example but also a vocal motivator on the court, Watts said.
"That is the one piece that I think he needed to gravitate into, and that's where he is now," he said. "Trent's such a nice young man. Sometimes being a leader is not easy because you have to get into people and tell guys when they're messing up. But he doesn't play selfish, and he's found that balance."
And when a right ankle sprain sidelined Lockett in late January, the Sun Devils missed his leadership. In the six games Lockett was out, the team's points per game decreased by 12. The Sun Devils went 1-5 during the stretch, earning the only win by four points against Washington State.
"It's hard watching the games from the bench, not being able to be out there and help the guys," Lockett said. "It's good to be back."
Now that he's healthy, Lockett said he has one goal in mind: "Win every game we can."
Judy said she's confident her son will do everything possible to find success both this season and in his future career.
"He knows what he wants," she said, "and he knows what he needs to do in order to make it happen."
Lockett will earn his bachelor's degree in a few months - an entire year earlier than the program calls for. Seems fitting for someone who started college as a high school student.