October 30, 2011

Chasing a Gill-actic force for 2013

Away from the hardwood Ravenscroft shooting guard Anton Gill is a normal kid, but morphs into one of the nation's elite high school basketball prospects for 2013 when he has the rock in his hands.

College coaches across the land have taken notice, but the Raleigh product has his eyes set on the upcoming season.

"Working toward the state championship has been the biggest thing that's on my mind, so I think I'll take care of more recruiting stuff after the season," Gill said. "Right now I just want to improve with my teammates, and work toward the goal."

His Ravenscroft team fell short of its state title goal last season, losing to Charlotte Christian in the semi-final round of the state playoffs. From there he moved on to the AAU circuit, playing for Garner Road. After missing the first half of the AAU season with a foot injury he teamed with North Carolina 2013 commitment Isaiah Hicks and another highly touted prospect Marcus Bryan to lead Garner Road to a fourth place finish in Nationals.

"I think I've always been more of a scorer with my team," Gill said. "I think this year I'm going to have to be a better rebounder, a better defender. I'm going to have to be more of a leader than I was before this year just with the younger guys we have playing on our team, and just setting the right example, setting the tone at practice and games."

This fall Gill (rated as a four-star recruit and the nation's No. 43 prospect by Rivals.com) has been busy traveling to schools. Most recently the 6-foot-2 and 165-pound guard visited Louisville Friday, Oct. 14 for its Midnight Madness tip-off to the season.

He was impressed with the Cardinals facilities, especially their KFC Yum! Center. Gill said he also enjoyed the campus.

"I like them," Gill said. "I like Coach [Rick] Pitino. I like the way they play too. They play really fast, and they really let their guards control the pace of the game, and really play their game, so I really like them."

Aside from Louisville's style of play he also likes the way Pitino invests in his players. He said the head coach personally works out each player. Gill added that Pitino told him that he would fit in well with the Cardinals.

Before the trip to Louisville he attended Wake Forest Saturday, Oct. 8 for its football game against Florida State. The high school junior also played pickup basketball with the current and some former Demon Deacons, including NBA star Chris Paul.

Like with Louisville, Gill was impressed with Wake Forest's campus, and said it was beautiful. He thinks he would enjoy attending a smaller school, because it would be easier to get help from professors. More importantly Gill is excited about how Jeff Bzdelik and his assistants are building the program for the future.

"The players that they're bringing in are going to pretty good by the time I'm a senior, so they're definitely one of the schools I'll be looking at," Gill said.
Bzelik visited Ravenscroft the next week to meet with his coach, and to watch him in a morning workout.

"I think I talked to him that night," Gill said. "We talked about the program he's trying to build, guys he's bringing in and how I could improve my game. It was really good."

One of Gills' greatest attributes is his desire to improve his game. When he talks to Wake Forest's coaches conversations often revolve around point guard play, because most of the schools recruiting Gill hope to use him at both positions in the backcourt. He said Bzdelik and assistant coach Rusty LaRue stress the importance of making good decisions, and knowing when and how to get the ball to teammates.

Wake's coaches are not the only ones pursuing him for the Deacs, but 2012 commitments Codi Miller-McIntyre and Aaron Rountree. Gill said he often talks with Miller-McIntyre and Rountree, and that somehow Wake Forest always comes up in conversations.

Gill and Rountree will face one another Wednesday, Nov. 16 when Ravenscroft travels to Wilson, NC to take on Greenfield.
"It should be a good game," Gill said. "It's our first game of the year, and it's on the road. I know they're going to be ready, because we beat them last year. It should be a tough game. It will be fun though."

Also competing for Gill are N.C. State and college basketball's pre-season No. 1 team North Carolina. Gill plans to visit the Wolfpack this Saturday, and attend their football game against the Tar Heels.

"[N.C. State assistant] Coach [Rob] Moxley came to one of my open gyms," Gill said. "I think that was either Tuesday or Thursday. That's how I set up the football game."

Gill added that he had not spoken with Mark Gottfried since this past summer, but said the new head coach of the Wolfpack talked to him about how he was trying to build the program and to keep in N.C. State in mind.

"Knowing that I have a great program down the road that I could look at [in N.C. State], and see if that's a place I want to be, but at the same time there's so many great programs that I could be a part of," Gill said. "I don't think that distance from home will really affect it. I just want to be [in] the place where I'm most comfortable, and the place that gives me the best chance to win."

If Gill does decide he wants to stay close to home he has two even greater programs in Duke and Carolina to choose from, both of which would likely give him a better chance to win than N.C. State. However, the Blue Devils have yet to show much interest in the Ravenscroft junior. Gill does not even know if Duke is recruiting him.

"As far as Carolina I talk to them a lot," Gill said. "We have morning workouts they're there at least once, twice a week. I talk to Coach [C.B.] McGrath a lot, Coach [Steve] Robinson, and they say they're highly interested, they're just trying to see who they're going to bring in for 2012, so they can look at who they want for 2013."

Gill is not going to rush into a decision, but will look at all of his options. The Raleigh recruit said the Tar Heels would be a favorite if they offer him a scholarship, but that there would still be many things to consider.

It seems that Gill cannot find a place he does not like. Over the course of this year he has visited East Carolina, Louisville, Miami, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Xavier, but has struggled to decide on a list of favorites. He plans to narrow his choices down soon.

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