- National Teams
Robert Gilchrist is an athletic freak. At 6’8, 210lbs, he can jump OUT of the gym (check him out in the Joe White Classic Dunk Contest last year). More than just raw athleticism though, he has range extending to 20 feet and a shot blocking ability that allows him to dominate the paint. 1990 born, he has just spent last season at Worcester Academy prep school in Massachusetts, before being named to the GB U20 roster for summer 2010. Originally a Barking Abbey product, Hoopsfix got to catch up with him whilst he assesses his options for next year.
HF-What age did you first start playing basketball and why?
RG-I first started playing basketball at 11/12. I finished primary school and it was time for the summer holidays, at the time I was playing football and just got trials for Arsenal’s youth academy team. Instead I decided to take my first trip by myself to America, I went to stay with my aunt in New Jersey where I ended up attending Jayson Williams’ basketball camp. When I came back to England I told my parents that the next year i would stop playing football and take up basketball.
HF-Where were your first experiences playing organised basketball?
RG-My first experience of playing organised basketball was at East London Royals in White Chapel, my good friend Lukas (Volskis of London Leopards)who had just moved to the same road as me took me under his wing and dragged me to all of the practices.
HF-And you ended up at Barking Abbey right? Can you tell us about your experiences there?
RG-Lukas was the year above me and he went to Barking Abbey with all the other good players around London. He put in a good word for me and I ended up getting a spot at the Academy. My time there was great, I worked closely with Mark Clark and Lloyd Gardner who had all the time in the world for me, they gave me all the skill work I needed.
HF-Did/do you have any role models growing up?
RG-Growing up I looked up to Steve Bucknall who took me under his wing. He always gave me a hard time but would often tell me it was for my own good and that he had my back on and off the court, the same with Robert Youngblood; he ran a open gym not too far from my house every Monday where I would go early to shoot. Also my AAU coach, he put me through some serious workouts this summer gone, gave me more of the perimeter skills that I have now, that’s who helps me out with a lot of my decision making today and keeps me in check while I am in America. He’s a big part of what I do.
HF-How did you end up attending Worcester Academy?
RG-I ended up at Worcester Academy through Mantas Drungys who went to a Prep School in Conneticut in my 2nd year at BA. His head coach put me in touch with his brother who ended up being my AAU coach and my advisor for basketball in america. He got me in touch with Brewster Academy, Blair Academy and Worcester Academy, after a short time we figured Worcester was the best place for me.
HF-How do you feel your season has been there?
RG-The season was not the greatest we had injuries and a few other problems that I won’t disclose, the biggest success was in the Thomas Blackburn Tournament, we won that, beating Blair Academy.
HF-Best dunk of your career?
RG-I think that same game (vs Blair Academy) was where I had my best dunk; I caught an alley thrown from a step over the half way line, it was an and 1 and I knocked down the free throw to put us up one and we went on to win the game by two.
HF-Where did you get your freaky athleticism from!?
RG-I have no idea where I got the athleticism from…it feels like just yesterday i used to think it was the best thing in the world to jump and hang on the net or touch the rim, now I am pulling windmills and catching alleys on people…
HF-What are your plans for next season?
RG-Right now I am trying to figure out my best option as I didn’t get the SAT score that I needed to go straight to a 4 year Div1 school so I will have to go to Junior College if I stay in America. The other option is going pro in Europe right now, most likely Spain but I am in the process of figuring out the positives and negatives of both options.
HF-Who do you rate as the top up and coming baller out of the UK?
RG-I think the top up coming baller out of the UK would be Ryan Martin; there’s not a lot of 6’8 kids that can play on the perimeter like him.
HF-Toughest opponent you’ve ever played against (British)?
RG-He would also be one of the toughest I have been up against because he has attributes similar to mine; he is long and athletic, able to pin your lay up or get a hand to your jumpshot at any given time. He definitely gave me a run for my money last year in practice at Barking Abbey. In England I haven’t really been shut down. The toughest game would be against Hackney Community College where I still managed to go for 19 points 7 boards and 3 blocks.
HF-What are you going to be doing over the Summer? You gonna be in the UK?
RG-This summer I will be with GB U20 trying to do some damage in Austria, then chilling with the family before I figure out if i will carry on with school or not.
HF-Any shout outs?
RG-Shout out to you for the interview , everyone out of Barking Abbey and everyone still there. There’s gonna be some serious talent coming out of there.