High-scoring Piscataquis of Guilford senior guard Bryce Gilbert will continue his studies and athletic career at the University of Maine at Fort Kent beginning next fall.
UMFK coach Tom Bird announced Gilbert’s verbal commitment via Facebook post on Sunday as the Bengals were returning from a weekend trip to New York City and Vermont.
“What makes a 12-hour ride back home a little better?” he said. “A message from Bryce Gilbert to let me know he’s coming to Fort Kent and will wear a Bengal uniform next season!”
Gilbert has been one of the state’s most prolific scorers during the last two seasons, averaging 25 points as a junior and 27 points per game so far this winter for the Pirates, who are 11-6 and ranked seventh in Class C North entering their regular-season finale against fifth-seeded Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Thursday night.
The 5-foot-11 Gilbert surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this season and scored a career-high 43 points during a 75-38 victory over Valley of Bingham on Jan. 29.
“Basketball-wise, his talent and character speak for themselves. It’s not the easiest thing in high school when you’ve constantly got two or three defenders around you at all times, but he handles it with poise and is a good enough player to get his teammates involved all the while scoring 20-plus points a game,” said Bird.
“Our offense is guard oriented for guys who can get into the lane and hit open jump shots, which are things he does very well.”
UMFK was 18-7 after an 89-83 loss to three-time defending U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association champion Berkeley College of New York on Saturday. That marked the Bengals’ first defeat since a Nov. 22 loss at NCAA Division I Vermont.
UMFK is ranked second in the most recent USCAA Division I coaches’ poll.
“Once (Gilbert) adjusts to the speed and strength of the college game I think he will be able to fit right in and have an impact,” said Bird. “He’s a very intelligent player so he will pick up on the things we are doing early.”
Gilbert, also a soccer standout at PCHS who was selected to the 2017 Maine Soccer Coaches Association Northern Maine State Team, plans to enroll in the nursing program at UMFK.