Thursday, September 26, 2013
Scout's take: ESPN 100 PF Gilmore to VCU
By Adam Finkelstein
ESPN 100 PF Mike Gilmore (Tallahassee, Fla./James S. Rickards) made a verbal commitment to VCU on Thursday night. Gilmore is the second ESPN 100 player and fourth four-star prospect to commit to VCU so far this year in what is becoming Shaka Smart's most decorated recruiting class to date.
Why he committed: Gilmore had taken official visits to VCU, Miami and Kansas State and was set to take his fourth and final trip to Georgia Tech this weekend before cancelling the visit and making a decision.
"VCU stood out because of their playing style and because of Coach Smart having tons of confidence in me," Gilmore told ESPN.com. "I know he'll be able to get the best out of me."
"I'm long, athletic and able to run the floor, and being able to shoot the 3 and play that stretch four spot, I think I'm a great fit for the way they play."
What he brings: He's a late blooming big man who is still rapidly developing both in terms of his physical frame and his skill set. He's long, athletic, able to run lanes and cover the court. His frame is still filling out and getting stronger, but he's a live body with a high motor on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he knocks down 16-foot jumpers with consistency and continues to gradually expand his shooting range toward the 3-point line. Defensively, he is ideal in run-and-jump situations, has the potential to check multiple positions and is a valuable weak-side, shot-blocking threat.
How the class is shaping up: It couldn't be going much better for VCU, as Gilmore joins ESPN 100 SF Terry Larrier (Bronx, N.Y./Phelps School), four-star point guard Jonathan Williams (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's) and four-star power forward Justin Tillman (Redford, Mich./Pershing). While all four players share the physical tools and aggressive styles to thrive in VCU's trademark "havoc" defense, they have complementary skill sets on the offensive end that should allow them to integrate their unique talents well within VCU's offense.
How he fits: Gilmore is an ideal fit both for VCU's style of play as well as with the rest of their class. As his frame fills out, he should be able to play both the four and the five spots, making the interior tandem of him and Tillman an imposing one, especially in such an up-tempo system. Add Larrier to the mix and you have as athletically devastating a frontcourt as you'll find in the country. Offensively, his developing skill set is very important for VCU, as his ability to stretch the floor will be a nice complement to Tillman and Larrier. Pair him with an aggressive ball screen guard like Williams, and Gilmore is especially intriguing, because he has the potential to pick and roll or pick and pop, which eventually will make that tandem virtually impossible to stop without a third defender.
Who he reminds us of: He has a lot of Jonathan Bender in him. Bender was another long and athletic big man with a relatively lean build and the skill set that eventually allowed him to stretch his game to the perimeter. He went straight to the 1999 NBA Draft coming out of Picayune High School in Mississippi. While Gilmore isn't quite as far along at this point, he owns a similar style and weapons that give him the upside to play this game for a long time.