Wisconsin 2020 Signee Breakdown: Carter Gilmore
Wisconsin's men's basketball program will welcome six players as part of its 2020 class. AllBadgers.com will begin a series where we hope to discuss and break down these new Badgers, with the help of their coaches.
Hartland (WI) Arrowhead head coach Craig Haase recalled a freshman by the name of Carter Gilmore as "a pretty gangly, not very strong kid who was still figuring out the best ways that he could effectively make successful plays on the court."
Then Gilmore made a leap between his freshman JV season and sophomore year, becoming a main component for Arrowhead's varsity program. The development of one of his now-former players, according to Haase, "has been amazing," particularly when looking at the past two years.
Even with being named a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division I all-state selection as a junior and was the player of the year in the Classic Eight conference, Haase believes Gilmore improved even further as a senior.
"To me the difference was his maturity, his leadership, his desire to win, becoming a great teammate on the floor," Haase told AllBadgers.com on Monday. "Those things just went through the roof his senior year. I mean, it was just like 100% buy-in to do everything he possibly could do for us to win, and his confidence just kept soaring with every game and every win and every big play that he made. He just made a ton.
"It's hard to say that a kid improved when he was first-team all-state (selection) as a junior and becomes first-team all-state as a senior, but to me, his improvement was just tremendous between junior and senior year."
According to Haase, Gilmore averaged 26.8 points per game this season, shooting 50% overall from the field (57% on two-point attempts, 30% from three-point range). He connected on 76% of his free throws, grabbed 11.3 rebounds per contest and also dished out 5.6 assists per game.
Along with those aforementioned all-state honors, Gilmore is Arrowhead's all-time leading scorer (1,565 points) and owns the school's single-game record for points with a 49-point performance this season against Menomonee Falls. This season, he also added an Associated Press' first-team all-state selection to his resume.
In March, Wisconsin officially announced that Gilmore would walk on to the men's basketball program after publicly declaring his commitment last summer. AllBadgers.com breaks down the forward's game with Haase, his head coach.
When did you see Wisconsin first started paying attention to Gilmore, recruiting him more?
"For years, we've been going to Wisconsin team camp in the summer so they've always had an eye on Carter. Of course, Carter's dad played for Bo Ryan at (UW-)Platteville on their first national championship team. His dad was a starter on that team and so played for Coach (Greg) Gard as an assistant there, so there was always a relationship there, and they had always been watching. This past summer, however, we played La Crosse Central, with the (Wisconsin signees) Davis brothers. Carter, I thought performed extremely well in that game, and of course, the UW staff was was watching.
"From that point forward, there was conversations that I had with Coach Gard about where they were at recruiting with Carter, and how they're going to continue to watch him and so on and so forth. I think that that made an impression. They wanted to continue to see Carter's growth and where he was at, and by the end of the summer, were able to offer him that preferred walk-on spot. I think that answers your question, but really this past summer at that team camp is where I kind of saw it."
What are some of the strengths that you see that he will bring to Wisconsin?
"His strengths are that he is good at a lot of different things. He has great court vision, so he's a great passer -- I mean, a really, really good passer. He's an excellent rebounder. He handles the ball extremely well for someone that's 6'7-6'8, playing point forward for us for the last two years. He can find ways to score, so he's a great scorer. He's improved his shooting, his free throw percentage ended up right around 78%, which was like almost a 10% increase from the year before and he shot obviously a ton of free throws this year. I think the best thing that he brings is that he's going to find a way to get on the floor because he does so many different things well. He's unselfish. He passes the ball well. He defends hard. He rebounds hard so he's going to figure out a way to get on the floor because he does so many different things. It's not like, 'Oh, he's just this kind of a guy. He's just a shooter. He's just a rebounder.' He does so many things well."
In terms of areas of growth, areas of improvement, what do you think those will be once he gets to Madison?
"I think his growth will come obviously strength-wise. He's working on that hard right now in the spring, but I think that will be a huge part of his game. Just getting to be Big Ten strong. I think as well as just understanding their system and being able to fit into that system. His shooting, his outside shooting, I think is something that they'll continue to improve at Wisconsin as well. So if I had to pick two things, I would say his strength overall, and then his outside shooting would be the two things that could continue to improve at Wisconsin."
Is there a play or set of plays that stands out from your time coaching Gilmore at Arrowhead?
"There's a couple plays this year. I thought there was one huge game that really started the momentum swing for him and that was against Kimberly over the holiday season at the (2019 Rick Majerus) WBY shootout at Concordia (University). Carter had really two monster blocks in that game in the second half that ignited us. So really defensive plays that I thought kind of showed how he could dominate not only on the offensive end, because he was scoring so much -- and he had been doing that his whole life --but then defensively all of a sudden just making huge defensive plays kind of changed the momentum of that game. We ended up winning that game against a really good Kimberly team, and it was a close game and not too many people had thought that we would win. Then the momentum just kind of took off from there.
"Then there was a play later in the season against Waukesha West when we played them and on Senior Night. He was able to hit a game-winner against Waukesha West at the buzzer on a pull-up 17-footer. So those two places just stick out in my mind because of the great, great season that he had and that our team had.
"I would finally say that this year we were 23-2 as a team, and that's the best winning percentage in school history. Even though we've won a state championship in school history, it's the best winning percentage. It's a huge part due to Carter and his desire to win and his competitive spirit and the leadership that he showed this year."