Gilbert Garnering Major Looks

2011 big-man prospect Malcolm Gilbert is garnering interest from some major colleges.

Standing 6’11, Malcolm Gilbert of Academy of the New Church (PA) is one of the top big men in the class of 2011. Entering the spring of his junior year, Gilbert is drawing looks from multiple high-major programs, Maryland included.

The big man said that Marquette, Georgetown, Harvard, Penn, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, Temple, Villanova, Tennessee, Florida State, Florida, Xavier, Rice, Texas, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Penn State, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Drexel, Maryland, and Notre Dame are showing him varying degrees of interest.

As far as offers go, Gilbert said, “I know La Salle offered. They’re really interested. I know Rutgers offered me a scholarship before [Fred Hill’s departure]. I don’t know if that’s still in play, I’m not sure. I haven’t really heard that from a coach like, ‘we offered you,’ but my dad probably has because he talks to them in more detail. . . . I only know one, La Salle, but I know there are others, lots of others, I don’t wanna give u false info.”

Asked for his favorites, Gilbert did not give a simple answer like many players do, but rather explained his current thinking.

“I like the business schools like Georgetown and Penn State and I like the technical schools too because I like business and engineering, so Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. If I wanna stay close to home, probably if I wanna stay in the Philly area, my favorite would be University of Penn because it’s Ivy League and they play big-time people, and Pitt, I grew up in Pittsburgh a little bit. I’m originally from Delaware, but we traveled a lot. . . . Another favorite would probably be like the Ivy League schools like Harvard and Rice. Rice is not [in the] Ivy League, but it’s one of the top academic schools in the country. It’s a little far away but I’m willing to go far away if it fits my criteria. . . . I kind of like Tennessee because I went to a tournament there and we used to have relatives there for a little while,” said Gilbert. “Oh yeah, and Florida, the Gators. I know I have a lot of schools up and down the East Coast so I’m trying to figure out which ones I like the most.

Oh yeah, Xavier, that’s a pretty good school. Notre Dame is pretty cool. See, a lot of schools I haven’t taken a trip to before, but I have met the coaches and gotten info about, so I don’t know what the campus life is like.”

Although he has not seen many schools yet, Gilbert would like to take a trip in the near future. “I’m hoping to visit a school next weekend because I have the weekend open. I’m not sure yet [which school. We are] trying figure that out now.”

What is Gilbert looking for in a school? “Good life off the court as well as on the court, good chemistry with the teachers as well as with the players. Skill development, where they have good weight programs so that I can boost my potential and keep improving into the next level. Nice area, great campus. As long as I get a good education, that’s the most import thing, education as well as athletics. Where can I go and get excellent education and also play excellent basketball against great comp?”

Speaking of academics, Gilbert said that he has a 3.2 GPA and is qualified to play Division I ball, is still waiting to get his ACT scores back and plans on re-taking the SAT.

The long post presence said that he is being helped through the recruiting process by his “father and high school coach”. His coach is Kevin Givens, who has sent a number of players to DI colleges, including his sons Samme and Shannon Givens, both to Drexel. Shannon, though, is planning to transfer, according to reports.

Asked when he plans to make his college choice, Gilbert responded, “Sometime around my senior year, when I visit the schools. When I have a big picture of what I’m looking at, and then I’ll make my decision.”

While Maryland is involved in Gilbert’s recruitment, he said that he has not spoken with a Terrapin coach recently. “I can’t remember [which coach I talked to] because I haven’t talked with them in a while. . . . I think I remember talking to an assistant coach,” Gilbert said.

With so many schools pursuing him, it was understandable that Gilbert was not all that familiar with Maryland specifically. When asked about the UMD program, he replied, “It’s kind of hard to remember everything. I probably have it written down somewhere, but I can’t remember.”

Although he is not that familiar with the ACC school right now, there are a number of things that Malcolm Gilbert would like to learn about Gary Williams’ program.

“What I want to know is about the campus life. Are they gonna have help there, academically if I go to an away game? If I need help with homework are they gonna help me? If you have a test the next day it can be tough. Also, [I’d like to know about] the classes. Do they have the classes that I want, engineering and business?”

It is known that Gilbert is tall, and the center is pushing 7’0 now, to go along with an even longer wingspan. “My height is like 6’11, I’m real close to 7’0. When I take my shoes off I’m like 6’10 1/4. I think I have the second longest wingspan in the country, they told me that at Amar’e [Skills Academy]. They measure you and do all that,” Gilbert commented.

After previously running with Team Final on the AAU circuit, Gilbert will be playing with the Albany City Rocks this spring and summer. While the high-powered team will be going to a number of events, there will also be a focus on just working out.

“[We have] more [events coming] this month and in July of course. My coach really stresses workouts. If you can work out for an hour, he really stresses to workout, especially me as a big man, like [to work on my] footwork. I need footwork because I already have a jump shot. That’s a dangerous combo if I get that down. As a big man, I already run the floor and block shots. If I get that better, I can be a dominant big man as a senior.”

What does Gilbert feel is the main strength of his game? “My strongest point would be blocking, timing. I have excellent timing; I get off the floor quickly when I see the ball. I have experience in the area; I’m accustomed to what’s gonna happen. On the ball defense, help defense, I gotta get better, not jump too much, I get jump happy. I can also block outside shots, can time those real well. If I know the person is a good shooter, have seen him shoot a few times, I’ll challenge it.”

On the primary weaknesses in his game, Gilbert remarked, “Strength and footwork, my strength as a big man and footwork. As I keep with my push-ups and getting quicker, [that will help]. I have gained weight, I’m at about 235, 240, about 20-pounds heavier than last year, so that’s pretty good. So if I keep working out, eating, working out with my coaches, I should be strong enough and quick enough to do what I have to do on the floor.”

Asked who he would compare his game to, Gilbert mentioned some current NBA superstars. “I would compare my game to KG, Kevin Garnett. He likes to step out and shoot that shot, high post shot, I like to shoot that shot. He likes to block shots [and he is] very aggressive. A lot of my post moves I try to model after him. And I also like Tim Duncan, I have a hook shot like that,” Gilbert said. “Those are the two players I look at, [but also] at any team I look at their big men. . . . Amar’e, Dwight Howard, and Shaq [as well, but mainly] KG, his aggressiveness, he jumps high, he blocks shots, all that stuff.”

Malcolm Gilbert is still a work in progress, but at 6’11, he is a player that numerous college coaches across the nation would love to work with. Time will tell which one ends up landing the highly coveted big man.

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