At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over a hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III, or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and under-recruited, and today’s edition will highlight Markquan Gilbert of Ben L. Smith.
We’ve seen Gilbert throughout his growth, previously stating, “Between this group and his high school team, Markquan Gilbert always seems to be incredibly productive. He’s strong, tough, and has the necessary frame to play through endless amounts of contact. Gilbert just never seems to get tired, as evidenced by his nonstop motor and active presence on both ends of the floor. He barrels through the lane and finishes through contact with ease, but has also proven to be a consistent perimeter shooter. Due to finishing anything he wants, Gilbert doesn’t necessarily need to take jumpers—but certainly can. He rebounds extremely well, defends his assignment, and makes hustle plays.”Later followed by, “There were a lot of notable performers for the Golden Eagles, but Gilbert continues to clearly shine as their two-way leader. He scores, defends, rebounds, and consistently sets the tone on both ends of the floor. Gilbert utilizes his blend of size, strength, athleticism, and physicality to cause constant problems for opponents. Offensively, he attacks the basket, finishes through contact, and hits pull-up jumpers at a quality rate. Gilbert plays bigger than his size as a defender and rebounder. He will be a useful player at the next level.”
Since then, Gilbert has only continued to lead the way for the 15-3 Golden Eagles. He’s a strong, physically overwhelming wing/forward prospect with the combination of size, scrappiness, and leadership qualities to make a consistent impact on both ends of the floor. Gilbert rebounds his position really well, pushes the break in transition, and is capable of burdening the scoring load or setting up others. He finishes through contact, above the rim, and with either hand, but can also reliably pull-up from midrange or hit jumpers from beyond the arc. Gilbert defends bigger than his height would imply, frequently does the dirty work, and outworks opponents with his motor on both ends of the floor. College coaches have continued to stay involved, so it’ll be exciting to see where Gilbert ultimately furthers his playing career.