L.G. Gill is back home in Chesterfield, Va., taking three online courses that will cover the final eight credits of his undergraduate degree in communications from Duquesne. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward has plenty of motivation.
His transfer to Maryland hinges on their completion.
Gill, who announced Monday his intention to finish his college basketball career in College Park, said in a telephone interview that the opportunity for playing time and post-graduate job opportunities were the biggest reasons he chose the Terps.
Gill said that Maryland contacted him “about a week after I got the word out” of his imminent transfer and he had been in constant communication with either Maryland coach Mark Turgeon or assistant coach Dustin Clark since then.
After taking his official visit to Maryland last weekend and feeling an “immediate connection” to the players on the team, Gill committed.
“I hope to play basketball for however many of years after college, but I know when my career is going to be over, I have to look down the road and I know whatever graduate program I do end up pursuing it will set me up to successful off the court,” he said. “Also, for basketball, the opportunity is there for me to come in and have an impact to help the team.”
In a statement released by the athletic department, Turgeon said, “We’re excited to welcome L.G. to the Maryland basketball family. He is a tremendous addition to our program who will be able to make immediate contributions. L.G. was a very productive player at Duquesne and improved each season.”
Gill, who averaged career-highs of 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds while playing about 30 minutes a game for Duquesne last season, will help bolster a frontcourt that lost all three starters, including forwards Jake Layman and Robert Carter Jr.
It will mark the third straight year that Turgeon will add a graduate transfer, following Rasheed Sulaimon last season and Richaud Pack in 2014-15. Both wound up as starters and key players in the team winning 55 games and going to two straight NCAA tournaments.
“That played into it a little bit,” Gill said. “I know Coach Turgeon has done a great job with grad transfers, they’ve come in and played well under him. I also know that Coach Turgeon has done a really good job developing players and perfecting their craft. I know I only have a year, but in the small time I’m there, I hope to improve.”
Depending on whether sophomore point guard Melo Trimble keeps his name in the NBA draft or decides by June 13 to return for his junior year, the Terps will either be considered a nearly complete rebuilding situation or one where Turgeon will mostly be trying to find players such as Gill who can give Maryland some inside scoring.
Admittedly, Gill said that he is a better on the perimeter than he is in the low post.
“With different mismatches, I can post smaller players if I’m at the 3 [small forward] position or I can spread it out and use my versatility,” Gill said. “Something I can definitely work on with Coach Turgeon, and he said he wants to work on with me, is my post game, back to the basket. I haven’t really worked on it that much in the past.”
Gill was primarily a 3-point shooter at Duquesne. Of his 553 field goal attempts over his three seasons, 350 were from 3-point range, including 154 of 285 last season. He is a career 34.3 percent shooter on 3-pointers (38.9 percent overall).
Comparing Gill’s propensity to take 3-pointes to those he will try to replace, he is more similar to Layman, who a slightly higher 3-point shooting percentage (36.1) over his four years but was a better overall shooter (44.5 percent) and took a smaller percentage of his shots from 3-point range (50.5 percent).
“He is a good shooter and rebounder and is extremely athletic,” Turgeon said of Gill, who reportedly wears size 16 shoes and has a 7-1 wingspan. “As one of two seniors on our roster [along with Damonte Dodd], he will bring high character, strong leadership and experience to our team and will also be a perfect fit for our locker room. We really enjoyed getting to know L.G. and his great family during this process and look forward to having him join us on campus.”
Gill said he believes the competition he will face in practice, as well as in the Big Ten Conference, might also help his growth. Gill will join a recruiting class made up of two four-star recruits in 6-6 wing Kevin Huerter and 5-11 point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. as well as three-star recruit Micah Thomas, a 6-6 small forward.
The Terps are also reportedly in the running for four-star power forward Justin Jackson, who originally committed to UNLV but has reopened his search and is trying to decide between Maryland and Oregon.
Playing at a high level is going to help my game as well,” Gill said. “If you’re playing with the best every day, you can only get better. Everyone in the gym is a high-caliber player. Everyone there is highly talented. Some of the guys coming in are young, but they’re really talented young kids.”