In a tale of two brothers, Marcus Gilbert ‘16 and Malcolm Gilbert ‘15 are about to start their second season playing together at Fairfield, though neither intended for this to happen.
When it came time to pick a college, Malcolm decided to go to the University of Pittsburgh but was the third-string center on the team.
Fast forward one year, when Marcus Gilbert made the decision to play at Fairfield. He was enjoying ample playing time and won a few Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week awards. While Marcus Gilbert greatly benefitted under Coach Sydney Johnson’s system, Malcolm Gilbert was receiving mostly bench time at Pitt.
Malcolm Gilbert had wanted to play for Coach Johnson who, at the time, was still the coach at Princeton University. Unfortunately, Princeton was not looking at Malcolm Gilbert for a basketball spot. So in December of 2012, Malcolm Gilbert decided to join his brother at Fairfield and transferred schools, drawing parallels between their high school days at the Academy of New Church High School in Delaware.
“The way me and my brother were raised, we strongly support team chemistry and support each other in the bad times as well as the good times,” said Malcolm Gilbert. “Just the camaraderie, and part of that is me and my brother being on the same team.”
Now the two brothers share a basketball chemistry that Malcolm Gilbert feels can assist the Stags on and off the court, as a team. Spectators were able to see that chemistry come into effect last season, Malcolm Gilbert’s first season of eligibility with the Stags.
“It was definitely a learning experience and the chemistry has always been good and we’ll be even stronger this year,” he said.
For Marcus Gilbert, last season was “like the same thing as in high school, just at an upper level, and we have such good chemistry.”
Marcus Gilbert definitely benefitted from this and saw a boost in his statistics with his brother around. He led the team in minutes played last season and started in 31 of the team’s 32 games. His points per game jumped from 5.8 in his freshman season to 13.9 last year. His rebounds also ascended from 3.2 boards per game to 5.1.
In Malcolm Gilbert’s first season with the Stags he averaged 2.5 points per game as well as 2.7 rebounds per game, in just above 10 minutes of playing time per game. He also led the team in blocked shots with 35.
“When Malcolm [Gilbert] transferred, he didn’t really play a lot, so he had some rust on him,” said Marcus Gilbert. “As the year went on, he started to get the hang of it. So, I feel like he’ll get a lot more playing time and we’ll get to play together a lot more.”
Although Marcus Gilbert received a significantly larger amount of playing time than his brother last season, the departure of Maurice Barrow ‘14, could open up the way for Malcolm Gilbert to really break into his own at the center position.
“He’s a big defensive presence and offensive presence, as well,” said Marcus Gilbert. “You can’t miss a seven-footer on paper.”
When asked if he has big aspirations for the upcoming season Malcolm Gilbert said, “Yes, I do. I just have to stay focused and take it one day at a time. That’s my mindset and the mindset of all my teammates.”
Malcolm GIlbert also believes that he can be a big influence on the first-year players.
“Just pushing them to compete each day, not only in the court, but in the weight room,” stated Malcolm Gilbert. “It’s just inspiring because they look to us for leadership and guidance and we can give it to them.”
As far as what Malcolm Gilbert will miss most after this last year as a Stag, the list extends far beyond just Marcus Gilbert.
“Just being with my brothers, not only my brother, but my surrogate brothers: my teammates,” said Malcolm Gilbert. “The memories we have together, the times we’ve spent and just helping each other out. It’s a beautiful thing.”