U of L hoops feature: Anton Gill

Anton Gill

The ninth in a series of stories published by Cardinal Authority on individual members of the University of Louisville basketball team. The latest installment looks at freshman Anton Gill.

Much of the talk in the preseason surrounding the defending national champion University of Louisville basketball team has been about the backcourt.

Russ Smith is a preseason first-team All-American, Chris Jones was the Junior College Player of the Year last season, Tim Henderson hit two huge three-pointers in the Final Four and Terry Rozier has been called the best of the bunch.

But let's not forget Anton Gill.

The 6-foot-4 native of Raleigh, N.C., doesn't get as much hype as some of the other newcomers but will play a major role for the Cardinals. Gill is one of the best shooters in the program and is expected to play a key role for the Cardinals.

"He's a great player," said Rozier, who played with Gill last season at Chatham, Va., Hargrave Military Academy. "Anton is going to be great for us."

Gill, who committed to U of L early in his junior year of high school, averaged 28.2 points a game as a senior at Hargrave and scored 50-plus points on two occasions. He was ranked among the top 50 players nationally in '13.

"I'm excited," Gill said. "I've been ready for this and waiting for this for a long time. I can't wait to help this team out in whatever way I can this season."

A 40-percent shooter from three-point range last season at Hargrave, Gill is likely going to be a threat from long range early in the season.

In three Red-White scrimmages, Gill hit 11 of 22 from three-point range and he added three more three-pointers last week in the Kentucky Wesleyan exhibition.

"He can shoot it now," U of L assistant coach Kevin Keatts said in a recent interview. "He can shoot it."

But Gill doesn't want to be labeled as ‘just a shooter,' and U of L coach Rick Pitino said in a recent interview that he needs to "become better all-around."

"I am not totally pleased with him," Pitino said. "He's become a very good spot up basketball player. He has to be more physical, but he is a weak freshman and that's the reason why he's not as strong as some players.

"He just needs to get more to his game than just being a spot up basketball player. Now in that regard, he's doing a great job."

Gill, who didn't have a turnover in two of the scrimmages, said he's not just a shooter and plans to make that point this season.

"I'm getting better every day," he said. "I know I can shoot and hopefully they'll go in, but I have to do other things to help the team win.

"And there are a lot of things I can do better."

Gill said he has been learning to play the two and three positions on the team and said those positions are "really pretty similar."

"For me, guarding Russ every day, going against Chris all the time and being with Terry for two years," Gill said. "Every day you have to get better. Every day you get exposed. But it's really helping out my game and will make me better."

Gill is not one for self-promotion. He's always been a quiet, laid-back type of player but is hoping to get a little more attention as the season gets going.

In a recent interview, Gill said he was going to be the surprise player on the team this season for the Cardinals.

"I don't want to say me, but I hope it's going to be me," he said smiling.

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