With all that is going on in the world with Covid-19 hitting the nation and shutting down the entire country, I recently got in touch with Atlantic 10 defensive player of the year and Richmond guard, Jacob Gilyard. The list does not stop there. He also had the honor of being named first team Atlantic 10, and Atlantic 10 all defense team. Lastly, he led all of division one in steals this past season. He is one of the elite guards in the country on the defensive end, and now he is continuing to work on his offensive game. Here is what we talked about.
Overall feel of his game
A: I feel like personally I could have played better. I think I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I would have liked and I was not as aggressive as I had been the year before. But still being able to be first team as well as DPOY makes it more exciting for what could happen next year.
Team connection at Richmond
Q: As a team you were 2nd in the A10 at 14-4 and 24-7 overall, how well was the chemistry throughout the season and especially going into both the A10 and NCAA tournament?
A: I think we were always pretty in sync with one another, but towards the end of the season is usually when teams hit their stride or begin to fold and i think we were only getting more comfortable with each other which would have helped us in the tournament.
Q: What part of your game have you been working on the most when you were quarantined?
A: I think during quarantine I’ve spent a lot of time on pick and roll reads and focusing on taking my time when I come off. Trying to slow down a little bit to make the reads a little easier. And then trying to work on my floaters and runners. I think I finish the ball really well but I think if I can master that floater it’ll only open up so many other things.
A look ahead
Q: Looking at next year, Richmond is looking like a top 25 team and looking to be at the top of the A10 once again. How excited are you about next years squad? What do you think the ceiling is for the Spiders next year?
A: I know we’re all excited for next year and the potential that we have. I think we’re getting deeper and more experienced which is going to help everybody. But I think we can be a scary team for people next year. Obviously offensively I think we’ll be able to score with the best. But if we can continue to get better on the other end of the floor, I think we’ve got a chance to go as far as Richmond ever has before.
NBA draft experience
Q: Question five: How was the NBA draft process as a whole? What kind of feed back did teams give you?
A: The feedback was good. Always interesting to learn more and figure out how improve your game. They told me some things that I do well and then some things I need to work on and then some players to watch and see how i could learn from what they do. Obviously the virus put a lid on the workouts which would have been super crucial. But being able to hear feedback and criticism is what you want as a player.
Q: What was the thought process of choosing Richmond? What other schools did you originally look at?
A: I was interested in Missouri State and Tulsa. But I think the staff at Richmond made me feel like they really wanted me there and I’d have a chance to play right away. The a10 has a lot of really good guards and I wanted to compete w some of the best while trying to be the best.
Overall, this was a really fun interview to do. He was so humble when talking about different aspects about the season especially the awards that were given to him. He never spoke like he was better than anyone. The thing that stuck out to me was the improvement question. A lot of players would say that they were working on improving their shot at a certain range or something along that line, but with Jacob he worked on a really specific thing in his game that many might not even look at as a casual fan. That shows a hard working, dedicated man. I had a blast talking with him, hopefully more to come in the future!