Lake Clifton is the top-ranked boys team in the City League and is led by a trio of talented guards in Derrious Gilmore, Jason Sharp and Antoine Allen. Gilmore might be the overall leader, though. The senior point guard and captain uses great ball-handling and jaw-dropping passes to set up teammates in transition. When he's not getting assists, he's hitting three-pointers, usually from NBA range. Gilmore has been a Laker for three years and has been dominating basketball courts since he was 10. He plays Amateur Athletic Union basketball in the summer on the Cecil Kirk and First Baptist Crusaders teams. He plans to attend college and pursue a degree in physical education.
What do you like most about playing?
I just love everything about basketball, to having teammates that don't play as much as everybody, cheering, happy for everybody once they do something good, to making baskets, to getting my teammates involved. Everything about basketball I love.
How do you like playing for coach Herman "Tree" Harried?
I love it, man. He's a special coach to play for, you know? He helped me through a lot. He helps you on the court and off the court. I give a lot of respect to him and I love playing for him.
How does he help you off the court?
He instills life skills as far as being on time, helping you to choose your friends - because everyone's a friend when everything's going good for you and then when it's going bad, it shows you who your friends are and who really has your back. He's just there for you. He's a coach/dad type. He calls us his kids and he treats us like his kids, on the court and off the court.
What's your best skill as a point guard?
I'd say my ball-handling skills. I can handle the ball under pressure, I can just handle the ball no matter what. Put the ball in my hands during crunch time and I'm going to come through, I'm going to make the right decision and help my team win.
What's it like being a captain?
It's good, but it's hard at the same time. Being a captain, [your team] looks up to you, on and off the court. When they see you doing stuff wrong, they think they can do it. It's like they say, one bad fruit can spoil the whole thing. Being a captain is hard, but I'm doing a good job at it so far by keeping my team focused and just letting them know that we haven't done anything yet. We still got to work hard.
You seem to take, and make, a lot of NBA-range three-point shots. When did you start shooting them?
I've been doing a lot of working out this summer. One day we were in practice and we were taking long three-pointers and I saw I could make them consistently. I told myself, "Well, if I can make them consistently in practice, I can do it in a game." I just take what the defense gives me. If they back up, and if it's deep, and I take it and make it, I make it. If I miss, I live with it.
What's something most people don't know about you that you're willing to tell?
That I'm a church boy. That's something a lot of people don't think or might not know. I read the Bible. I pray to God every morning and every night.
What did you do for New Year's?
I brought in the new year at church. After church service was over, I went to my house. I was with a couple friends ... female friends [smiles]. We sat and watched movies and ate, and that's how I brought my new year in.