Anthony Gill may be the big fish in a small pond right now, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be in over his head once he makes the transition to the SEC.
The Charlotte Christian (N.C.) forward is one of the best private school players in all of North Carolina. In fact, he’s one of the top prospects from the entire state, but he’ll have to battle a common assumption once he makes the move to South Carolina. He plans to sign with the Gamecocks this month.
It is widely assumed that players like Gill, who’ve feasted on lesser competition throughout their high school careers, take several seasons to mature into college contributors. That may ultimately be the case with Gill as well, but Christian assistant James Fisher-Davis doesn’t believe it will because of a lack of quality competition.
“One of the interesting things about some of these private schools is that we have a lot of talent,” Fisher-Davis said. “We have a lot of talent here in the public schools. I’m sure people will [believe that he’s at a disadvantage], but they really won’t have any merit or basis. He’s played against some extremely talented people.”
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The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game last season, playing mostly as a power forward. He’s drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan with his substance-over-flash style.
Though he gained 10 pounds this offseason and has the frame to add even more weight, he may have to change positions with the Gamecocks. USC recruited him as a power forward, though coach Darrin Horn and Co. want him to display some of the skills of a small forward.
He’ll fulfill a hybrid role in Columbia.
“It’s good for here,” Gill said of his game. “We win games here. On the next level I’m definitely not going to be able to do the same moves I do here. So, it’s eventually going to be a transition as far as facing up and everything like that. I can do the moves. I do them during AAU. This summer I played the wing in AAU, so I could get used facing up and everything like that.”
Fisher-Davis doesn’t think the transition with be that difficult.
“AG has a multi-faceted game,” he said. “He’s capable of playing on the perimeter. We’ve used him here at Christian more in the post position, because he’s extremely strong there as well. He has the tendency to utilize his body. He has very good body control.
“I think he could play some [small forward]. He’s the type of talent where he works extremely hard. So, if he has to move to 3, I’m more than certain he’ll put in the time that’s needed to actually go about the business of doing that.”
Gill, who chose USC over Virginia, Appalachian State, Liberty and Richmond, knows that his game needs some work. Strength is especially a concern. There may be skill in the North Carolina private school leagues, but there aren’t many players with his size.
He knows it will be much more difficult to thrive as a post player with the Gamecocks than it is now. Luckily, he’ll have a workout partner. South Carolina’s other senior commit, J.L. Mann guard Damien Leonard, also needs to improve his overall strength and bulk.
“We both need to work on our strength,” Gill said. “If we work hard, the sky is the limit. It’s always great to have somebody right there pushing you and you pushing them to make each other better.”