VCU shored up the front court of the future today as 6’9″ 205 pound PF Michael Gilmore (Rickards H.S./Each 1 Teach 1 Elite AAU) out of Jacksonville, Florida committed to Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams. Gilmore is ranked 4-stars and #76 in the country according to ESPN as well as 4-stars by Scout.com. Michael Gilmore has great bloodlines as he is the nephew of ABA/NBA All-Star and Naismith Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore. The 7’2″ Artis led Jacksonville to the 1970 NCAA National Championship game where they fell to UCLA. ESPN’s National Director of Scouting Dave Telep calls his nephew Michael “one of the more undervalued power forward stocks in the Southeast.”
Gilmore is a versatile stretch 4 who is able to attack from the wing off the dribble or take post players inside as well. He has great shooting mechanics with high release, extension, and follow through out to 3-point range. In keeping with Shaka’s ideal recruit, Gilmore is long, runs the floor hard, and is an adept finisher in transition. His ability to spread the floor with his perimeter skills will make him a valuable piece in VCU offensive attack as a pick-and-pop threat. His length and athleticism will also allow him to protect the rim on defense. His versatility as a big man with perimeter skills will allow VCU to present line-ups in which every position can stretch the floor from beyond the arc. In Shaka Smart’s system this makes a team that much more dangerous as Jamie Skeen showed the country in March of 2011.
As with many big men at the high school level, Gilmore needs to improve his strength as he’s still thin and not overly physical inside but he’s improved this year in that regard. His ability to handle the ball has been a point of emphasis in workouts as well.
Shaka Smart noticed Gilmore at the ‘Best of the South’ tournament in Suwanee, Georgia during the July live evaluation period. Gilmore usually played for Marcus McGee on a stacked E1T1 Elite AAU squad that included national stars such as Grayson Allen (Duke commit), Joel Berry (UNC commit), and D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State). He was subsequently overshadowed on the AAU circuit. With the aforementioned AAU teammates playing at the Nike Global Challenge in Washington DC, Gilmore got an opportunity to shine and took advantage of it at BOTS. He impressed many as one of the best big men in the tournament, including Shaka Smart who tendered a scholarship offer not long after.
Over the course of his recruitment, Michael Gilmore received scholarship offers from Miami, Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, South Florida, Providence, Wichita State, St. Joe’s, Central Florida, FGCU and FIU in addition to VCU. He initially narrowed his list down to a final 3 of Miami, VCU, and Kansas State with official visits scheduled to each school. The Miami visit was replaced with Georgia Tech a couple of weeks later. He took an official visit to Bruce Weber and Kansas State the Sept. 7th weekend. Gilmore was on campus at VCU the weekend of the 13th with 2014 VCU commits Terry Larrier and Jonathan Williams. He cancelled his final official visit to Georgia Tech for the Sept. 28th weekend and decided to pop for the Shaka Smart and VCU.
Gilmore joins fellow ESPN100 VCU SF commit Terry Larrier (Phelps School/Team SCAN AAU), ESPN 4 star PG Jonathan Williams (St. Benedict’s Prep/ Team Loaded NC AAU) and Rivals150 PF Justin Tillman (Pershing H.S./ R.E.A.C.H. Legends AAU) in VCU’s 2014 Class. Given the depth, quality, and balance of this class, it’s hard to think of one better at VCU. Shaka Smart and his staff have put together the best recruiting class on paper in VCU history.
Welcome to the Ram Nation Michael Gilmore!