PHOENIX -- The Desert Duel started early Tuesday and Aaron Harrison was among the days best…
Gill preparing for future
To help prepare the forward from Charlotte, N.C., for his collegiate trek down to Columbia, S.C., Gill took the step of learning how to do laundry. But before he suits up for South Carolina, he has his senior year of high school left — giving him a little more time to help himself further adapt to the independent life style.
"It's a good feeling being on top of the school," Gill said of his senior year. "It's good to have a lighter course load and being able to relax."
Relax huh? Doesn't sound like he's quite doing that.
"After school, I'll go to the weight room, and after the weight room, I'll go to the gym and get up a couple hundred shots," he said of his preseason workout routine. "And before school, we get in a 6:15 workout."
Gill recently took his annual physical, a precautionary measure athletes endure before they can take part in school teams. He was pleased with his latest finding.
"Last year, I was about 6-foot-7, and I grew about an inch since then," he said. "Everybody said I was 6-8 and wanted to give me that extra inch, but I went to the doctor about three weeks ago and measured in at 6-8 for the first time."
Despite being just 6-7, Gill has always been the main big in the paint. Late in the summer, he stepped away from his Charlotte-based AAU team and his high school teammates to play with Team Loaded, a team that was already loaded at the big man spot. So the opportunity allowed Gill to do something he hasn't had the luxury of doing before — playing small forward.
"It was a good experience because I had never played out (on the wing) before," he said. "I just had to adjust to it. The defense was the easy part. I just had to had to get comfortable out there on the wing.
"I've never really had help (in the paint). With (Adjehi) Baru, Jackson (Simmons) and big (Matt) Gorski, It was good not having the focus on me. I wasn't the only one who had to help on the boards."
Where will he play in Columbia?
"Where ever they need me at is fine with me," he said.
Gill says he doesn't really have too many goals this season outside of winning a state championship at Charlotte Christian. "Just getting better and getting bigger and getting ready to get down to South Carolina" are his plans.
He feels that his hard work will do the talking for him.
"I feel like if I work hard on the offseason, everything will fall in place. I feel like it'll show up in the season and the game," he said. "I put in a lot of work, but I won't say that I've made it yet."
However, he has made it to somewhere. The Scout.com Top 100. Gill first made it to the list earlier in the summer and made a slight climb to his current spot — No. 74 overall and the No. 17 power forward.
"I guess it feels good just to know that the hard work has paid off," he said of his ranking. "I know that there are a lot of players ahead of me so I'm going to keep working. I may not be better than the next guy, but I know I'm going to work harder."
Gill keeps in touch with the South Carolina coaching staff about his progression as a player — particularly assistant coach Neill Berry.
"Me and coach Berry talk all the time about getting in the gym and working hard since this is my last year to win a championship," he said, "and he said when I get there, I'll win four more."
Gill plans to visit South Carolina soon, and another 2011 prospect will be on hand as well to take in his official visit — sharp-shooting wing Damien Leonard.
With Murphy Holloway transferring in from Ole Miss, South Carolina is currently down to one open scholarship in the class. Leonard is closing in on a decision — he's down to South Carolina and Oklahoma State.
So with Gill being the lone other recruit in the class, the pressure's on for him to help land the Greenville, S.C. standout.
"I'm going to take a visit, not this weekend, but next weekend," Gill said. "We're going to go down there and hang out with the team a little bit and hopefully we can get him to commit."
First Dunk: I was in the 7th grade. Somebody would bounce it off the ground, and I caught it with two hands.
Career high: Last year I scored 32 against (Charlotte) Country Day. I think that was my highest.
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