May 31, 2011

Anton Gill enjoys big weekend at home

Class of 2013 guard Anton Gill had a weekend to remember at the Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions in Raleigh last weekend. The four-star combo guard from Ravenscroft High looked right at home in his hometown, dominating the competition en route to MVP honors in the 16-U bracket.

One of the weekend's most impressive highlights came courtesy of the 6-2, 165-pounder, who was suiting up for the Garner Road Bulldogs. In the Sunday championship contest of the 'National' tournament, Gill and the Bulldogs were down 86-84 with just 3.9 seconds left. Gill took the inbounds pass and headed towards midcourt. He dribbled behind his back to make the slightest opening and heaved a desperation attempt at the rim, as the clock neared zero, from just inside of mid-court. The shot fell cleanly as the buzzer sounded and Gill, who was knocked down after releasing the ball, secured the victory. Even more impressive is the fact that Gill just recently returned from a foot injury and this was his first official action on the court, "in a long time."

In addition to the standout performance in the championship contest, which came at his own high school gym in the revamped Bob Gibbons' tournament, Gill had a standout sophomore campaign. He averaged around 17 points per game and helped the Ravens to a 25-4 record. Colleges have definitely taken notice of the developing star, including new coach Mark Gottfried and the Pack, who offered in April.

"It happened probably about a month ago," Gill recalled. "I talked to Coach [Orlando] Early on the phone and he said he wanted to offer me. I was real excited. The next week, I went over and visited with Coach Gottfried, he just talked about what he's trying to do there and said he thought I could help them win some games.

"From the times that I've met him, [Gottfried] always seems like a good coach. I didn't know much about him before [he got the job], but his knowledge, talking about coaching at UCLA and things like that, make it seem like to me that he has a super-high basketball IQ. I think he could really help me get to the next level if I go there.

"Coach Early, same thing. From what I've seen so far, they both look like they're great coaches. They're going to have a great program, whether I go there or not."

That is not to say that NC State is out of the running for the potential hometown hero, who has also been offered by East Carolina, UNC-Charlotte, Wake Forest and South Carolina. In addition to a knockout coaching staff, the Pack offers the opportunity to stay at home and some excellent facilities, according to Gill, the nation's 12th-ranked point guard and No. 47 overall player in the 2013 class, according to Rivals.com.

"The facilities [at NC State] were really nice," Gill said. "I went when they had the pictures and things off the walls because they were renovating it. I can't wait to go over there and see what that's going to look like. The facilities are nice, it seemed like they had everything in there for players to get better.

"Just staying home, staying for the people that supported me since I was a little kid [is appealing]. Playing in front of my family who has done everything that helped me get to that point will have a lot to do with me staying or going somewhere else."

Gill also seemed excited about the prospects of playing pick-up basketball at the Dail Center, something he has not been able to do yet because of the recent foot injury.

"Hopefully, I can get over there soon because there are a lot of good players there," he said.

Several other big-time programs are obviously starting to kick the tires on Gill, including Clemson, North Carolina, Georgetown, Tennessee, Texas and Florida. He claims it's too early to start naming favorites or anything like that, and says that most schools are relaying similar messages about his position at the next level. The rising-junior feels he is suited to play either point or shooting guard and said, "I guess it depends on where I'm needed at the time."

"They're just telling me that they're looking for basketball players," he continued. "It you're a guard, can shoot and do everything, that's a plus because that means they can use you in different ways. All of those teams are similar, too, they just run up and down, let you play; that's something I think I do well."

Gill also mentioned that an unofficial visit to North Carolina is in the works but reiterated that he is still early in the recruiting process.

"All of these schools are great," he said. "I'm just going to take my time to make the right decision."


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