Derrious Gilmore signs with Wyoming
For the past three years, Derrious Gilmore has lived a nomadic basketball existence, bouncing from prep school to one junior college and then another.
The former Lake Clifton standout’s goal through it all was a Division I scholarship – and some much-needed stability.
“It was discouraging. It was hard. It was a rough transition for any young man to go through so many things, with three schools in three years,” said Gilmore, who played at Princeton Day Academy, Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College and Jones County (Miss.) Junior College. “That’s tough to do. But I put all my faith in the Lord. That just keeps my faith. The Lord would see it through. I kept putting my faith in him. It just helped me through the whole situation. It was very discouraging, but I worked hard for it. I felt that I could make it by sticking with it."
Earlier this week, Gilmore’s perseverance finally paid off. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound guard signed a letter of intent to Wyoming, picking the Cowboys over Morgan State and Towson, among others.
“I’ll be part of their family and come in right away and make an impact right away and help turn that program right around,” Gilmore said Friday. “I really just love the coaching staff. They stood out to me and it was [about] trying something new, experience a part of the country that a lot of people from Baltimore never get a chance to see.”
There was little doubt that Gilmore was a Division I-caliber player coming out of high school in 2008. But the Lakers’ floor general missed NCAA qualifying standards and headed to Princeton Day Academy in Lanham for a post-grad year. Gilmore generated a good deal of DI interest there, but after his scores came up short again, he packed his bags for Florida.
Gilmore fared well at Pensacola, but a coaching change prompted his transfer to Jones County. While living in a small town in Mississippi was an significant change in lifestyle for Gilmore, he flourished with the Bobcats.
“I think he showed a lot of maturity,” said Jones County coach Don Skelton. “When you move around like that, it’s tough to keep your focus. But he was great this year on the court and off. … He’s just a real competitor. He’s a really loyal guy. If you take care of him, he’ll be totally loyal. He gives it back to you. I was extremely impressed. The bigger the game, the better he got.”
Gilmore averaged 12.3 points, 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bobcats. He ranked 26th nationally in assists among all Division I junior college players. He also converted 44.7 percent of his 3-pointers. Under Gilmore’s direction, Jones County finished 15-10 and played in the Region 23 tournament.
“He’s just a tough, true point guard,” Skelton said. “On the offensive end, he’s going to push the ball on the break for you and get you set up if you want to run the half court. Defensively, his ball pressure starts the man-to-man defense.”
West Virginia expressed interest in Gilmore earlier this year. A scholarship wasn’t offered, but Mountaineers assistant coach Billy Hahn recommended Gilmore to new Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt. Skelton, who sent former All-ACC player Jamar McKnight to Clemson when Shyatt was the coach there, thought it was a good fit for both parties.
Gilmore visited Laramie last weekend and was blown away by the mountains and the campus atmosphere. While the trip clinched his decision, it wasn’t easy letting the Morgan and Towson coaches know that he wouldn’t be coming back to Baltimore for his final two years of college.
“It was real tough because of course getting recruited by a school in your hometown [would] let you come in and play in front of family and friends and everyone you grew up with and went to high school with,” Gilmore said. “But my family and I thought a lot about it, and it was just best for me to just stay away. I’m doing really good. I don’t want to take the chance of coming home and losing focus. It’s really easy to come home and lose focus with everyone that you love.”
Gilmore said he’s excited to play for a veteran coaching staff, but also be part of something “brand new.” He expects to challenge for the Cowboys’ starting point guard job.
After three years of moving around, Gilmore can’t wait to settle in to his new life out west.
“Going through what I’ve been through, my struggles made me a lot stronger,” Gilmore said. “It made me the person I am today. When you go through things in life, it makes you stronger. I’m going to appreciate the opportunity to play at the Division I level at a great school in a great conference. It really helped me mature a lot and prepared me to take advantage of the opportunity I have to play at the University of Wyoming next year.”
Photo of Gilmore courtesy of Jones County Junior College.