Gilbert played his first two years of high school ball at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, Del, but transferred to Academy of the New Church (Pa.), where he has reclassified to the Class of 2011.
“I want to catch up with the years I’ve lost at the school I used to go to,” Gilbert, who averaged 9 points, 13 rebounds and nearly 12 blocks last year, said this summer. “I couldn’t get my skills together (at St. Elizabeth). There weren’t enough coaches there to teach me the skills I needed.”
Kevin Givens, head coach at Academy of the New Church, said a slew of high-major schools had been in to visit Gilbert during the recent evaluation period, including Georgia Tech, Villanova, Syracuse, Virginia, West Virginia, Penn State, La Salle and Drexel.
Givens said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins had both visited the school.
“I kind of like the Big 5 schools (in Philadelphia) because they’re close to home and also they have good education and good competition,” Gilbert said.
“All the Philly schools are interested,” Givens said. “Rutgers is very interested. Maryland is interested. His dad wants him to go to a high academic standard school so we’re also looking at the Ivys, Stanford and all those kind of schools.”
Gilbert has a natural ability to block shots around the basket, but also wants to work on his handle and face-up game.”I’m trying to work on my handle so I can become a four/five man,” he said. “I like the KG (KEvin Garnett post moves, so I try to work on my dribble so I can be able to face the basket instead of having my back to the basket.”
Givens will now have three years to work on developing Gilbert’s game. The coach said Gilbert is in a weightlifting class three days a week and lifts on his own a fourth day.
“I think he’s going to be a big-time player in the next three years,” said Givens, whose team was ranked in the Top 25 in several national polls last year and handed Dan Hurley’s Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict’s Prep team its only loss on the season. “I want to work on his handle, boxing out, playing around the basket, being able to score around the basket.
“The first thing we’re going to start with Malcolm is getting him down in the low block and just turning around and shooting. Getting him up to the high post, learn how to turn around and shoot, and from there we’ll start putting the ball on the ground.”