With a roster featuring several impact freshmen who will play right away based on skills, if not necessity, Ahmad “JR” Gilbert might be the one true freshman who who won’t be expected to make an immediate contribution. We’ve already covered guys like Kevin Dorsey, Dupree McBrayer and Jordan Murphy — newcomers who are expected to contribute right away — but Gilbert finds himself in a position of actual depth on the team. In short, he’s behind some of his counterparts when it comes to experience and development.
That’s not to say he won’t contribute, but with Carlos Morris and Charles Buggs already slated to see significant action, Gilbert will be working for his PT. A 6’6″ wing, he could play both the 2 and the 3, and would likely see the court when Pitino wants to go a little bigger at times — something he’s said he wants to look at.
From: Philadelphia, Pa
“[He’s] worked very hard to get in great basketball shape. He is starting to catch up to the speed of the game. He’s 6’6” and can really shoot it. Very efficient player. Doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Great potential. Loves to win.” — Richard Pitino
Gilbert was released from his LOI with George Mason this summer after head coach Paul Hewitt moved on. In the interim, he received interest from Wichita State. He dominated high school ball, averaging a double-double in his senior season to the tune of averaged 17.6 ppg, 11 rpg, 2.5 spg, and 2.1 bpg.
What does he do?
Gilbert has the Rodney Williams frame where he can create a big-time mismatch at both the 2 and the 3 by being bigger than shooting guards and lighter and more mobile than some bigger SFs. His strength is his shot, though it’s inconsistent, adn he has the ability to play both inside and out. His wingspan is a key asset on defense and gives him a better shot at rebounds on both ends.
Per ESPN: “[Gilbert] should develop into the type of guy who can create mismatches by scoring over smaller defender or going by less mobile ones.
What’s his place on the team?
Because he’s a combo forward, he finds himself behind a few guys on the depth chart. Nate Mason, Buggs, Morris and McBrayer are locked in as the guys who will see time at the 2 and the 3, though with Jordan Murphy having to shuffle down to PF with Bakary Konate’s injury, there might be more opportunity for Gilbert to see some playing time. So, he’s not in the same camp as someone like Dorsey, who will be expected to be a key component off the bat, but with his skills and potential, it sounds like he can certainly play himself into the lineup if some other guys aren’t getting it done. He’ll probably back up Charles Buggs to begin the season.
Pioneer Press: Freshman SF Ahmad Gilbert is now ready to contribute for Gophers
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