2016 point guard Alterique Gilbert was always on the Orange’s radar, but seemingly everyone understood that he was the backup plan to Tyus Battle. As a recruit, that can’t ever feel too good.
On Saturday, Gilbert announced his commitment to UConn, a longtime rival of the Orange. SU was one of five finalists, along with Illinois, Louisville, and Texas. He said that he chose the Huskies because of his great relationship with Kevin Ollie and the fact that he fits their system and program. It was also the only school that he officially visited, although he did call SU his ‘dream school.’
Originally from Georgia, Gilbert has the skills to be a great college point guard, but his physical attributes don’t compare to that of Tyus Battle. Last season, he averaged over 18 points per game, six assists per game, a whopping five steals and five rebounds per game as a junior.
Gilbert checks in at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, while Battle is 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds. His length makes him the obvious preference for the zone. Yet, when Battle first verbally committed to Michigan, Gilbert became a target for the Orange. With Battle’s recent decommitment, though, he once again regressed to second on the Orange’s wish list of guards.
Hearing that Gibert chose the Huskies for their system and program could mean that he knew he didn’t fit in the SU defense. SU has certainly had its fair share of successful small point guards – Jonny Flynn was only six feet tall and was drafted sixth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft – but, one would have to assume that Gilbert knew he didn’t fit the zone.
With the transfer of Pascal Chukwu, the scholarship situation is certainly a little bit murky. The Orange technically do not have a scholarship to give out to any further recruits because of sanctions set by the NCAA, but the obvious need for a guard in the 2016 class and the continued recruiting by the coaching staff makes it pretty clear that the team will find a scholarship for Battle or any other point guard target, whether it be through transfer or a reduction in the penalties.