A disappointing 2014-15 season in which it finished in fifth place in the American Athletic Conference and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament a year after winning the national title apparently has not hampered UConn on the recruiting trail. On Saturday, four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert announced that he has verbally committed to the Huskies.
“Blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to play college basketball,” Gilbert, who attends powerhouse Miller Grove High in Lithonia, Ga., wrote in a message posted to his Twitter account. “I've decided to end my recruitment and Commit to UCONN ! #Husky”
Gilbert received scholarship offers from more than 15 programs but he reportedly narrowed his list to five schools—Illinois, Louisville, Syracuse, Texas and UConn—in May. Despite recent speculation that Gilbert favored the Huskies, he said as recently as June 19 at the NBPA Top 100 Camp that “all five of my schools are at the same level,” according to the Courier-Journal in Louisville.
The 6’1,’’ 170-pounder is highly regarded for his ball handling and ability to score off the dribble. Gilbert elevated his profile with a strong spring on the grassroots circuit. Over 17 games with North Carolina-based Team CP3 in the Elite Youth Basketball League, Gilbert averaged 15.0 points, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 41% from the field and 33% from three-point range.
Rivals.com national analyst Eric Bossi wrote in May that, “A previous concern with Gilbert had been that he appeared to have relatively average quickness but he has added another gear. On top of that, he changes speeds well and makes great decisions with the ball. In short, Gilbert is a leader and as if he is well on his way to being a very good college point guard.”
Gilbert told Scout.com’s Evan Daniels that he was drawn to UConn, in part, because of the program’s recent track record with diminutive, scoring-minded guards. “I watched their previous guys like [Ryan] Boatright, Kemba [Walker] and Shabazz [Napier] and that's definitely my style of play,” Gilbert said. “I can relate to those guys being a smaller guard and being able to see them be successful helps.”
In its latest update, Rivals moved Gilbert from No. 77 to No. 39 in the 2016 Rivals150.
Seton Hall graduate transfer Sterling Gibbs projects as UConn primary point guard in 2015-16, but his eligibility expires after this season (along with Omar Calhoun). For 2016-17, the Huskies perimeter rotation could feature Rodney Purvis, Sam Cassell Jr., VCU transfer Terry Larrier, Daniel Hamilton, Gilbert and Jalen Adams, a five-star point guard prospect in the class of 2015.
Gilbert is the second class of 2016 prospect to commit to the Huskies, joining three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra.