Illini taking aim at Gilbert

Team CP3 jumped out of the gate to a roaring start in EYBL play, winning all four games at last weekend’s Hampton event. The squad features superstar Harry Giles — who drew massive crowds to each game — but junior guard Alterique Gilbert also made his presence felt.

It was nine months ago that Alterique Gilbert soared to wide acclaim at the Peach Jam. Fast forward to a new travel season, and on the heels of a disappointing high school playoff loss for six-time defending champion Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove, Gilbert is out to build on the momentum he generated last summer.

The 6-0 guard averaged 19 points per game that week in North Augusta, and since that time he has played his way into increasing buzz. Yes, it’s Giles who commands the bulk of the media focus, but Gilbert also benefits from the presence of so much attention. And clearly, he’s making the most of it.

A quick and very aggressive scorer, he can create for himself off the dribble or pull up for a three-pointer. He’s also a feisty defender who creates easy baskets thanks to his numerous steals in the open floor.

Gilbert could ride Giles’ coattails, but he holds ample talent of his own

Though disappointed by Miller Grove’s ouster in the playoffs, he waxed sanguine about the experience.

”We didn’t reach the goals we wanted to reach, but we came together as a team and we learned,” Gilbert said.

But while the state title eluded him, the EYBL offers another opportunity to capture a prestigious championship.

”I think we have a pretty good chance of winning EYBL, actually,” Gilbert said. “This is our first time playing together this year, so it’s a new team.”

Coaches flocked to CP3’s outings in Hampton, and not only for Giles. Gilbert has drawn offers from Connecticut, Illinois, Miami, Florida, Texas A&M, Mississippi, Wake Forest, Georgia, Georgia Tech and others, and he recently told colleague Evan Daniels that the Huskies, Illini and Hurricanes stand out.

Still, he’s in no hurry to make a decision and would like to expand his interest. He also feels no pressure or desire to necessarily spend his college years within the South.

”I want a school that has a winning program, a great coaching staff and a team that likes to learn,” he said. “I don’t have a preference on distance from home.”

Obviously, his lack of a proximity priority bodes well for the Fighting Illini, which has made him a top target.

”They like my game a lot,” he said. “They say I have a good opportunity to come in and play right away and have a big effect on the game, so I’m looking into it.”

Gilbert currently checks in at No. 48 in the Class of 2016, and he’s certainly talented enough to merit that lofty status.

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