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October 23, 2007

Gilchrist found right fit with Maryland

All it took was one official visit.

Gus Gilchrist had no idea that he’d visit College Park this past weekend and enjoy himself enough to become a Terp.

“Well I didn’t really know if I was going to [commit] to Maryland or not, but I took the visit because they were interested,” Gilchrist said. “When I met the coaching staff and watched them practice with the flex offense, I knew I could be good with them.”

On Sunday, Gilchrist made it official, offering a verbal commitment to the Terrapins’ coaching staff. Gilchrist picked the Terps over interest from Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Gilchrist -- a four-star center/power forward -- originally signed a Letter of Intent to play basketball at Virginia Tech, where he would’ve been a freshman now.

But according to Terrelle Woody, Gilchrist’s longtime trainer/mentor, the shootings on the Blacksburg campus last April caused the 6-foot-10, 235-pound big man to reevaluate things.

“When the shootings happened, they really spooked him out,” Woody said. “Once they spooked him out ... Gus and his parents talked to [Virginia Tech] coach [Seth] Greenberg and told him they didn’t want to go this year. He wanted to sit out, go to prep school and then come back the next year after all the things blew over. ... The coach felt that he recruited him and Gus needed to come there now, but myself and his parents thought he should feel comfortable. ... Once he wasn’t supported, he changed his mind about the whole thing. ... He did want to go to school there. He really liked the school.”

When asked about the Virginia Tech situation, Gilchrist declined to rehash the past, saying he was entirely “focused on Maryland.”

While becoming a Terp was far from a certainty (or, at some times, a possibility), the match between Gilchrist and Gary Williams’ brand of basketball has been described by more than a few observers as “perfect,” thanks in large part to UM’s flex offense.

During his senior year of high school at Progressive Christian Academy in Camp Springs, Gilchrist had the opportunity to face a regular slate of high school opponents, but also a collection of prep school teams. Woody coached Progressive’s prep school contests, running the flex offense. Against prep school opponents, Gilchrist averaged approximately 27 points and 14 rebounds per game.

“I always kind of played the flex offense growing up,” Gilchrist said. “I remember early in AAU growing up, I was probably 9 when I started learning it.”

Gilchrist’s knowledge, experience and skill set make his play and the offense an ideal fit.

“I’m a versatile, perimeter post player,” Gilchrist said. “I can score inside and out and play defense.”

Damon Handon, the general manager of D.C. Assault -- Gilchrist’s AAU team -- is in agreement that Gilchrist and Maryland’s system are a good match. Handon, who has watched Gilchrist develop since he joined D.C. Assault at age 14, thinks his former star has the potential to start for the Terps at the power forward or center spot from “day one.”

“What [Maryland is] getting in Gus is a physical inside presence,” Handon said “He can step out and make the 17-foot jump shot. He has great size. He has gotten so much better over the last two years, so I think that’ll continue when he gets to college. His upside is just tremendous. [He’s] a kid that is physically ready right now.”

“He’s an inside-outside player. He can score around the basket. He’s multi-dimensional. One aspect of his game [that can improve] is the ability to rebound the basketball, but I’m quite sure that’ll come. But right now he’s very polished offensively. This is a kid who has made some really big strides.”

Gilchrist is set to matriculate to College Park during the winter semester. He’ll begin practicing with the team immediately, but it’s still up in the air as to whether he’ll suit up for the Terps this season, or wait to make his Comcast Center debut during the 2008-09 season.

“Well, I really haven’t even talked to the coaches about that,” Gilchrist said. “So there will be time for that.

“It’s pretty much even,” he said when asked whether he’d like to redshirt or play immediately. “If I had a preference, I’d let you know, but it’s really 50/50 right now.”

Right now, Gilchrist is using his free time to get more prepared for college basketball. Woody has worked Gilchrist hard, putting him through weight training, agility workouts, speed and stamina exercises, and of course, lots and lots of basketball.

Gilchrist is also getting his mind prepared for the rigors of a college education. When he’s not working out or spending time with family and friends, Gilchrist’s face can often be found buried in a book. He’s currently enjoying the John Howard Griffin classic Black Like Me.

In addition to his affinity for literature, Gilchrist -- a 3.5 student in high school -- is eager to explore some of Maryland’s business school offerings.

“[Education is] very important,” Gilchrist said. “The fact that Maryland has one of the best business schools in America -- that’s a field that I’d like to get into.

“I’m just really excited to start school. It feels great [to be committed to Maryland]. I’m relieved that I found a school that’s the right school for me all around, for basketball and education.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:47 AM | | Comments (25)
        

Comments

Md will have a big front court for several years.Good to see that we are keeping local guys, thus allowing us to compete with anyone.I strongly believe our area has the best players
nationwide.Md, g-town and gw will be exciting for years to come.Can't wait for the season to start!

Wow. Sounds like we might have gotten lucky for once

hagdog...I wouldn't say that we're "keeping the local guys" after he commits to VaTech, then decommits and has Georgetown as his favorite, and then commits to Maryland b/c Georgetown gets a commit from the top player in the 2008 class. Let's just say we're lucky and glad to have him!

It is nice to see Maryland recruiting good kids which understand the term student athlete. Kim, Majok, and Gilcrest are all over average students who will represent the University well on and off of the court. Moseley is also working extremely hard to improve academically as well. Finally, they are getting quality local kids from Team Melo and DC Assault. Great job, Gary, Chuck, Keith, and the Maryland staff. Good Terps!!!

Let's see, how many laughable things can we find about this article? First that a kid "spooked" of the Blacksburg shootings would then choose College Park, MD. I'll give you three guesses at which area has the higher murder/crime rate - and the first two guesses don't count.

Second - the talk about Maryland's great business school and the importance of academics. Might want to check out Maryland's 0.0% graduation rate for it's basketball team first, Gus.

Lastly, the comments from Terelle Woody, Gilchrist's agent - er, "trainer". "Once he wasn't supported" by the Virginia Tech staff? How about this - Gilchrist was a lightly recruited kid who signed a LOI with VT early in the recruiting process, and then saw his stock rise tremendously. How about Mr. Woody then saw an opportunity to shop this kid around, regardless of the LOI. This this so-called mentor/trainer used the April 16 tragedy to try and essentially back out of the LOI. Once this kid got to prep school, there was no way Terelle Woody was going to let him go to VT, and Greenberg knew that - that's why he wanted Gilchrist to come to Tech as agreed upon originally.

Where are Gilchrist's parents in all of this, I wonder? Why is his life being directed by this outside "mentor/trainer"? College basketball recruiting is a cesspool, and this is just the latest example.

You have got to be kidding me. He used the worst shooting in United States History to back out of a binding agreement. Karma is gonna be hell to pay for that kid.

Why would you rip a kid anonymously? Have the stones to put a name to your comments.

"He wanted to sit out, go to prep school and then come back the next year after all the things blew over"

If he and his trainer's story was factural, why did he not just accept an 09 scholarship position in lieu of the 08 ship that he was forgoing? The signing deadline is only a couple of weeks away.

Using the shootings as an excuse is low class. It would have been way more impressive of the kid to just come out and tell the truth. That he didn't feel Tech was the right fit for him anymore and that he would prep if he didn't get let out of his LOI. Using 4/16 as an excuse is just plain disgusting.

Wow, it's odd to read how bitter adults can act when they are jilted by 18 year olds.

It seems kind of reasonable to me that a kid could get unsettled by the prospect of 30 people being shot on campus.

If you read the story, it was Greenberg's handling of the situation that caused the kid to change his mind about VT.

You can suggest alternative conspiracy theories, but just because there was a mentor doesn't mean he was crooked. Unless you have evidence that Woody sabotaged the deal with VT -- most "juries" would note that you have failed to prove his motivation for doing so -- then your anonymous accusation is hollow.

Thinking back on how I was at that age, I had the usual youthful confusion. If I had a lot of big choices tossed at me, I would be all the more confused. These kids are pushed and pulled all over. Let's give him a break. He sounds like a good student, a good Terp representative, and a nice asset for the front line.

Is Seth Greenberg posting on here as "anonymous"??? Md lost a commit in T. Jennings, picked themselves up and went out and got a kid of equal caliber w/ a 3.5 GPA. There's no crying in the recruitment of 17 yr. old kids.

I cannot wait for the season to start . I think we will have a great team.I have seen Dino play in driud hill park when he was about 15 he had a nice game so i know he gotten better.Go terps

I have a question: a little off topic here...

Does it seem like Pitino pulled a fast one on Maryland? Think about it...

Terrence Jennings decommits... transfers to a school with ties to Pitino... then commits to Louisville!

I'm not sure that is illegal but at worst it could mean after Jennings commited Pitino still bugged Jennings.

JENNINGS PROBABLY DIDN'T HAVE THE GRADES TO GET INTO MARYLAND. LOUISVILLE WILL ACCEPT JST ABOUT ANYONE. AND IT'S PROBALY NO LOCK JENNINGS GOES TO L'VILLE. HE HAS ONLY GONE TO ABOUT 5 HIGH SCHOOLS SO FAR. GILCHRIST FROM REPORTS IS A MUCH MORE POLISHED PLAYER WHO WILL GIVE MD. A STRONG INSIDE SCORING PRESENCE.

I am more than happy to let the Jennings thing go as he isn't worth the time now just the situation seems fishy and I think Rick Pitino is a shady character.


Now onto Gilchrist... the kid as every right to be concerned about the incidents at VT. It doesn't mean he is a bad kid or that we should debate the shootings. That was a horrible tragedy and as a die hard terps fan I still send my love to the families and students of the fine school.

But the truth is if he is concerned about it... he is concerned and calling him out doesn't make it better.

All of you idiots calling Gilchrist out over the shootings are braindead.

Do you think he is the only kid that has had second thoughts of going to VT because of them? Maybe you should ask Munson, a likely starter, why he left VT in July and Greenberg pulled the same power trip with him by not releasing him when he wanted to xfer to GW. And the ESPN article I read headlined another recruit backed out as well, but didn't list who it was. Perhaps there is something seriously wrong with the VT program, or just maybe, some people are a little freaked out.

Maybe anonymous really is Greenberg as one suggested.

The focus on Gilchrist and 4/16 diverts focus from an inconvenient truth, the VT program is not in good shape. Since the end of last season they have had two players leave the program, Krabbendam and Munson, whom Greenberg spitefully refused to release. In the case of Munson you really have to wonder why he left VT considering he would have been the unchallenged starting PG. Then Pellum fails to qualify. Followed by Hudson failing to finish his coursework on time and now he cannot enroll at VT until January. Before all that I can go back to Wytherspoon and Cooke leaving the VT program. Maybe there are good reasons these players decided to go elsewhere.

I certainly won't knock a 17/18-year old kid for being terrified by the worst incidence of individual gun violence in the history of the US. I was horrified by the event as a grad student at VT in his mid-20's. The difference here, is that this kid does not have the perspective of living in Blacksburg to know how absurd and jarring it was to have that incident happen here. Anyone who has lived in this community for any amount of time probably did not feel any less safe on 4/17 than they did on 4/15. I guess it is a bit ridiculous that someone concerned about personal safety would opt for College Park (I know I felt less safe walking around there than here in B'burg), but I think we can chalk that up to naivete. You just don't hear about the almost weekly robberies in College Park on the national news.

I hope this kid does well for the Terps.

at the public scrimmage when gary took questions, i asked about gilchrist. gary said he wasn't allowed to comment.

i asked greavis if he knew gilchrist or had seen him, and he said yes, he's seen him and he's pretty good. then today at the scrimmage i asked milbourne about gilchrist and he said he didn't know much about him.

he seems like kind of a mystery to most of the team, maybe cause gary doesn't tell the guys much about recruits. anyway, glichrist wasn't at the public practices. it would be nice to know when he would start practicing with the team. he's intriguing.

Here's a thought. Maybe some fo the players at VT whispered into Gilchrest's ear "Im out of here". Maybe he got cold feet then knowing the teams starting PG was leaving, and he didnt want the burden of carrying the team. He appears to be quite intelligent, if his grade point suggests. Or just maybe, he liked the school at first, but never really considered other options, and thats why he reconsidered. As long as you dont have a big news conference set to announce you are going to that school and get to the podium and announce you are going to another, I cant blame these kids for having second thoughts. Most of us had second thoughts on where we wanted to go to college. Heck, I was deciding between USC and Miami, and then I settled on Frostburg. They are no different than the rest of us.

Too many people pay too much attention to recruiting. UMD won the national title with a bunch of kids that were not highly recruited. He had great recruits in the 2 yrs that followed, and how did that pan out?

Final Four this year. National Champions next year.
Jeff/Class of '71
Valencia,CA

Being 18 and making a decision of this magnitude is not easy. If Greenberg blew Gilchrest out, its VT loss and MD gain. Gary always wanted him at Maryland and the fit seems natural. As far as the BS about campus saftey, who would mess with someone who is 6"10 and 235 lbs?

He made the best choice. Someone who reads and carries a 3.5 GPA is bright enough to make the right move.
Enough of the "sour grapes" by VT.
Go Terps!

A VT fan had this to say

"Let's see, how many laughable things can we find about this article? First that a kid "spooked" of the Blacksburg shootings would then choose College Park, MD. I'll give you three guesses at which area has the higher murder/crime rate - and the first two guesses don't count"

" College basketball recruiting is a cesspool, and this is just the latest example.'
...........................................................................................................................................

I wonder what you think about the criminals on the Hokie football team? Are you protesting Beamer's recruiting and stealing other school's commits? VT football recruiting practices are disgraceful to the ACC.

Take your sour grapes elsewhere. College basketball recruiting is shady, but you obviously do not have a clue as to how many kids Gary has lost over the years because of his unwillingness to play the game with 17 year old kids "handlers" and you also have no clue as to the admissions standards for athletes at College Park. You should be grateful, for those standards have provided Frank Beamer with some top notch talent.


The only reason VT is in the ACC is the heavy handed lobbying by the governor of Virginia. An invitation to Syracuse to join the league was in the works until the governor of Virginia threw a fit and raised a fuss. The rug was basically pulled out from under Syracuse for what?? Personally, I would rather have the Cuse in ACC. Your school bullied their way into the league. You should be grateful they are in the ACC at all. I guess how they got in to the league is only fitting


Final Four this year?? Championship next year?? Are you serious?? Obviously not.

This year MD will be lucky to make the NIT. Who do they have down low? NOBODY except Gilchrist. And with Vasquez and Hayes running the show, MD has, by far, the most un-athletic backcourt in the ACC. MD needs to fire Gary Williams. He can't recruit, and lets players like Vasquez do whatever they want on the court.

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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