NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — It was supposed to be the first primo, mano-a-mano Peach Jam face-off, pitting two consensus top-5 overall prospects who both feel they are the single best player in the country. Harry Giles III, the towering center-cum-fast break artist against pure scorer extraordinaire Malik Monk.
Then Giles’ teammate, Team CP3 point guard Alterique Gilbert, ripped up the script and took over himself.
In an overpowering first half display, Gilbert — who plays his high school basketball at Millers Grove in Georgia — scored a majority of his 13 points, pacing the North Carolina-based Team CP3 to a 44-29 edge. He then controlled the tempo in the second half as Chris Paul’s protege’s earned a critical 81-66 victory, all while “limiting” Monk to 21 points by forcing him to shoot 7-for-20 from the field.
“We just came out looking to compete as a team. We just had one goal in mind, and that was to win,” Gilbert said. “I don’t worry about (getting credit), I just try to play within our team and within our system. That’s it, I just want to win the game.
“I have to be patient as a point guard. I control the game, and the pace of the game. I control who goes where, who does what. That’s something I’m definitely still working on.”
It was an impressive performance for the recent UConn recruit, played out in front of his presumptive future college coach Kevin Ollie and nearly every other major collegiate coach in the country. Yet it was also just the latest in a very strong week for Gilbert, who has emerged as Team CP3’s true catalyst, the person who makes Giles tick and also creates point-blank opportunities for the rest of their teammates. He has been one of the Peach Jam’s most impressive guards, without question.
While Gilbert may not be motivated by any perceived slight, there’s no question that he has not been given his just due. Officially listed at 6-foot-1, he truly stands more like 5-11, and is 170 pounds … when soaking wet after a big meal. Of course, none of that matters now, and his ability to slice through any traffic jam in the lane and find the perfect pass for any situation has been remarkable in the most talented field he’s faced off against.
And now that Gilbert has made his college decision, he can put his focus fully back on the court, one tournament at a time.
“There’s only one goal,” Gilbert said. “That’s to win this whole thing.”
Thanks to his efforts, Team CP3 has an excellent chance to do just that.