Friday, July 6, 2012

Garner Road's Gill is Prepared for July

Beginning this July, ABR is expanding its coverage far past the greater Augusta, Georgia, area as we approach the high school travel circuit's evaluation period with a simple mission: reporting on the best high school basketball we can find.  And we don't have to look far to find one of the best AAU teams in the land, the Garner Road Bulldogs, based in North Carolina.  Fittingly, one of the best best guards in the country, Louisville bound Anton Gill, leads this national power.

We first saw Gill last July when his Bulldogs defeated the Southern Select (a team with a heavy concentration of players from the Augusta area) on its way to a runner up finish in the 16u Super Showcase in Orlando, Florida.  Since then, Gill has emerged as one of the top 30 players in the class of 2013.  And Garner Road coach Dwayne West has even higher praise for his team's leader, describing Gill as "a great basketball player, a great student, and a great person."

After academically qualifying and committing to attend Louisville, Gill enters July without the burden of needing to impress coaches, allowing the high scoring 6'3" combo guard to "compete and have fun" during the last month playing with friends on his AAU team.  And these are not casual friends.  After playing in the highly regarded Garner Road AAU program since early in middle school, Gill says the relationships he has formed with his summer teammates and coaches may be as strong as those formed at Ravenscroft School, whom Gill led to a NCISAA 3A state championship last season.

But July is not just one last time with friends for the future Cardinal guard. ranks the Bulldogs #8 nationally among 17u teams.  Gill and teammates aim to prove Garner Road is as good as any team as they travel to tournaments in Indiana and Pennsylvania before finishing the summer schedule at the Adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After the summer, Gill will enter Hargrave Military Academy for his senior year of high school.  A fine student and thoughtful young man, the prep standout is already preparing himself for the longer term, in the classroom and on the court.  "I plan to decide which major I may choose at Louisville and take classes at Hargrave to prepare myself," Gill explains.  And he is also doing his homework on the court, getting extra repetitions as a point guard during workouts and discussing the fine points of playing "with the ball" with coach West.  "Repetition is the key to learning to read the defense, making the right decisions, and getting the ball to the right spots," says Gill.

We look forward to seeing Gill and his teammates in July.  One month of playing basketball, alongside friends as a part of a premiere program, and against the best players and teams in the country, seems like the perfect way for this 17 year old to spend the last summer of his high school life.

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