STORRS, Conn. - UConn incoming freshman point guard Alterique Gilbert (Richmond, Va.) is known as a five-star point guard - actually the No. 5-point guard in the 2016 class and No. 23 player overall in the ESPN Top 100.
That's just part of him, though.
When he's not on a basketball court, Gilbert might be found in one of two places: a swimming pool or behind a notepad.
"I like to swim, and I also like to draw," Gilbert said as he spoke to reporters on UConn's media day for the five incoming Husky freshmen. "I've been a swimmer most of my life, but drawing I just picked up about three years ago."
Taking full advantage of an art class as a ninth-grade student at Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Ga., Gilbert took a liking to the art form. He admits to have drawn several portraits of famous pop culture icons - some real and some not.
"I've drawn portraits of Michael Jordan and Mickey Mouse," Gilbert said. "Also, drawing different sceneries and backgrounds helps me to expand my talent."
As far as sharing this talent, Gilbert has a good idea who might be able to expect a portrait sometime in the near future.
"I think Coach Ollie would like a drawing...I'll give him one," Gilbert said with a smile.
As one of five players coming into UConn for the 2016-17 season, Gilbert has become a member of the "Top 5" - a name doled out by the freshmen themselves and with the departure of backcourt players Sterling Gibbs, Daniel Hamilton, Omar Calhoun and Sam Cassell Jr., Gilbert may have the best chance to make an immediate impact.
Being such a highly-touted player out of high school, Gilbert turned down several other offers to attend school in Storrs. His decision-making began with head coach Kevin Ollie and trickled down from there.
"My relationship with Coach Ollie was crucial," Gilbert said. "Also, the style of play and the history of the program. The opportunity for me to come here and play right away was also a big factor."
Despite a shoulder injury suffered at the Jordan Brand Classic national game at the Barclays Center on April 15, the combination of Gilbert and sophomore guard Jalen Adams this season is expected to be an explosive one-two punch.
"I played before with Jalen in my sophomore year at the Elite 100 Camp in St. Louis," Gilbert said. "We got to know each other really well and I was excited to come in here and play with him again."
Gilbert will get the opportunity to lead the Husky offense, following in the footsteps of his championship-level predecessors - which are the two players he admires most.
"I admire Shabazz (Napier) and Kemba (Walker) the most when I think of UConn players," Gilbert said. "Their leadership, work ethic and motivation to always get better makes me want to fill the same role for this team."
When it comes to being a team leader, he plans to set an example through his "on-the-court personality." That's not to be confused with his off-the-court mentality, however.
"I have two different personalities. On the court, I'm very aggressive, loud and gritty; off the court, I'm relaxed and laid back," Gilbert said. "I want to provide an example for the other guys through my hard work in the gym and being an extension of Coach Ollie on the floor."
He's only been on campus for about six weeks, but already the next few years for Gilbert seem promising as a member of the Huskies. His quest to become the next Kemba or Shabazz is about to begin.
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