Trevelin Queen was relegated to a reserve role during his debut season in the NBA G League in 2020-21. The Anne Arundel County native saw action at both point and wing guard coming off the bench, averaging 20 minutes per game for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Queen took a major step forward during his second G League season, blossoming into the best player on the best team. The North County graduate was named regular season Most Valuable Player after Rio Grande Valley finished with the best record in the Western Conference.
Queen turned it up a notch in the playoffs and was simply spectacular in leading the Vipers to the championship. He was also named MVP of the G League finals after exploding for 44 in Game 1 then totaling 24 points and nine rebounds in Game 2 as Rio Grande Valley swept the Delaware Blue Coats.
“When Trev came back this season he was a totally different player,” Rio Grande Valley head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah said. “I expected Trev to be one of our best players and he more than rose to that challenge.”
Queen scored 25 points and dished off seven assists as Rio Grande Valley beat the Texas Legends in the conference semifinals. He totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to clinch a 2-0 series sweep of the Agua Caliente Clippers to win the Western Conference.
“It’s been an amazing season. I was blessed to be with a great organization, have a great group of teammates and great coaching staff,” Queen said. “Everything just fit so well together, and we were able to get the job done.”
Queen averaged 25.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.3 steals in 19 regular-season games with the Vipers. Rio Grande Valley is the G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, and Queen’s stellar play did not go unnoticed by the parent club. The 25-year-old signed a two-way contract with the Rockets in December and was called up to the NBA for a few weeks.
“I think Trev was very deserving of the MVP. You could see that whenever we didn’t have him in the lineup, we weren’t the same,” Abdelfattah said. “Not only did Trev put up phenomenal numbers he also grew into more of a leader and was a great influence on some of the younger guys. He was always the first guy in the gym and the last to leave.”
Queen originally signed with the Rockets as an undrafted free agent out of New Mexico State and was waived during training camp. Houston management felt the talented youngster showed promise and that is how he wound up with the Vipers.
Queen averaged 10 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals as a rookie, solid numbers for a backup. Abdelfattah watched the versatile 6-foot-6, 190-pound combination guard develop and mature as the condensed season went along.
“I think not making the Rockets roster back in 2020 changed Trev’s outlook on things and he began to gain a better understanding of what it takes to become an NBA player,” said Abdelfattah, who routinely tells players assigned to the Vipers the G League is a three-season process.
“If Trev feels something is difficult or encounters an obstacle, he uses that as motivation and figures out how he can be better and outwork others. He was determined to prove something this season.”
Queen played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021 NBA Summer League and performed well enough to be invited to training camp with that organization. After being waived, he elected to resign with Rio Grande Valley, which proved a wise decision.
Abdelfattah promoted Queen to the starting lineup and the results were spectacular for both the player and the team. He routinely brought the ball up-court and initiated the offense, shot a sizzling 47% from the field and averaged almost 35 minutes per game.
“I had to adjust to a more prominent role on the team. I went out there every day with the idea of being aggressive instead of passive. Things worked out and my confidence rose throughout the season,” Queen said.
Queen credited his massive improvement as a second-year professional to having the mindset of being an integral piece for the Vipers.
“It was mostly the mental part for me … just believing in myself and knowing I can go out there and do it consistently at a high level,” he said. “I had to change my approach and become more of a team leader on and off the court.”
Queen is also a dangerous driver with the ability to finish at the rim and a slick passer who makes good decisions with the ball after drawing defenders, the coach said.
“Trev commands so much defensive attention it creates shots for others. He is very unselfish and does a great job of finding the open man,” Abdelfattah said.
Queen appeared in 10 games with the Rockets and averaged 4.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in just under eight minutes per game. Being part of the NBA atmosphere was an eye-opening experience and Queen was able to pick the brains of seasoned veterans such as John Wall and Dennis Schroder.
“Of course, if you get a chance to compete against the greatest players in the world that gives you a confidence boost no matter what,” he said. “Even when you’re not out on the court, you’re listening to conversations and soaking up information through practices, meetings and film study sessions.
“I learned a lot each day that I was in the NBA regardless of how much I played in games.”
Houston is loaded with young talent, including three first-round picks from the 2021 NBA Draft in Josh Christopher, Jalen Green and Usman Garuba. Green and Porter Jr. made up the starting backcourt this past season with 14-year veteran Eric Gordon and third-year pro Garrison Mathews.
“Trevelin just needs to be patient and stick with the process. He went from role player to star of the G League and getting a two-way contract in one year – that’s a huge leap,” Abdelfattah said. “Obviously, the future is very, very bright for Trevelin Queen. I think if he continues to do what he did this past season, it’s just a matter of time.”