During his four seasons at Monroe High School, Tornado Rantavious Gilbert has grown in to a mountain of a basketball player. Now, the 6"8 center is heading amongst the mountains to play college ball.
Gilbert inked a scholarship to FCS-Division one school Appalachian State Thursday morning. The Tornado center chose the Mountaineers over offers from Florida Gulf Coast and Jacksonville University.
It's been quite the four-year journey for Gilbert. As a freshman, the 6'4 Tornado stood unassuming and unable to dunk. As Gilbert grew in stature, so did his game on the court with some assistance from his head coach.
"Coach (Marquis) Davis really blossomed my skills," Gilbert said.
"When he came from Southside (Middle), he couldn't even dunk the ball," Marquis Davis said. "Now, his greatest attribute is his ability to run up and down the floor. Defensively, he's a natural."
At Appalachian State, Gilbert will return to his natural position of power forward where he will be coached by former UNC small forward, Jason Capel. Gilbert says the prospects of an NBA future sealed the deal with the Mountaineers.
"I committed on my visit- sitting there in the office talking to the coachesâ|it really came to me that this was the perfect fit," Gilbert said. "The coaches have good skill development. Some of the coaches' farthest work was in the NBA, so we get a chance to work out with NBA players."
Gilbert averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks this season. The two-year tornado starter was also named to the AAA All-Region 1 team for the 2011-2012 season.