After an ACL tear, Chris Gilbert is ready for the court

Michael Pearce, Contributor

Limping off the basketball court during practice in his freshman year at Oakland University, Chris Gilbert just thought he sprained the back of his knee. After an MRI on his leg, the scan revealed he had torn his ACL.

“It was devastating,” Gilbert said. “Because then I knew I was out for the year, and you don’t really know how long it takes to come back from the injury. You don’t really know what to expect out of it, so I just had to learn from the experience.”

Despite missing the entire 2016-17 season due to the ACL tear, Gilbert was able to form close bonds with his teammates.

“It was tough just being around the guys all the time not being able to play,” he said. “ I just had to sit back and learn all the time, instead of being out there and doing things to help the team. We always hung out every day, even though I couldn’t move or anything, it was still fun.”

In Gilbert’s senior year at Fenton High School, he averaged 25 points per game, hit two game winning shots and set a school record for most 3-pointers in a season. After sitting out his last season, he now comes off the bench for the Golden Grizzlies.

“It’s a little tough,” Gilbert said. “It’s a little hard to get used to but it is kind of like resetting your life to back when you were a freshman in high school. You’re going through the same thing again as a freshman in college, you just have to earn your way up.”

Working through the ranks is something familiar with the Gilbert family. Gilbert’s father, John Gilbert, is now a member of Lake Superior State’s Hall of Fame, but he too was a role model to begin his college career.

Instead of looking at his playing time and complaining, Gilbert looks at it as an opportunity to show his talent.

“There’s a lot of great players here,” Gilbert says. “You just have to prove yourself, and when you get the chance you have to show your talent.”

Senior Kendrick Nunn and sophomore Chris Palombizio are two of the older teammates Gilbert says have been important in his development as a player.

“We all hang out together: me, CP, Kendrick and Isaiah [Brock],” Gilbert said. “Isaiah is my roommate and us four all hang out together. So, I’d say those three are the upperclassmen I learn the most from.”

Gilbert and the rest of the Grizzlies are currently on a three game winning streak. The team will look to win their fourth straight game and improve their Horizon League record to 5-3 when they take on University of Detroit Mercy at 4 p.m. on Jan. 20.

Gilbert’s high school stats and family ties

  • High School
    • 25 PPG Senior Year
      • Team MVP
    • School record for most 3 pointers in a season
    • Game winning shots vs. Powers Catholic and Linden
    • 31 points career high
    • 75% from the line 50% from the field
    • ▪Associated Press (AP) Class A Honorable Mentions All-State
  • Family
    • Mom and dad both Hall of Famers at LSS
      • Played 1984-1988
    • Sister Rowed at Clemson