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News Feed - January 7, 2009

Most teams put together scouting reports on their opponents. Some are specific; others are general. Nearly all include something about an opponent’s tendencies: No. 20 can shoot from anywhere on the court. No. 31 always looks to score on inbounds plays.

American senior forward Brian Gilmore expands upon the scouting reports he receives from the coaches as well as what he’s learned from watching game films to produce what he calls his own personal “points of emphasis.” After each pre-game meal, Gilmore sits down and writes out three or four offensive and defensive reminders for himself.

“I know my role on the team this year is going to be really big for us in how successful we are,” Gilmore said. “So anything I can do to help drive it home in my head and if that translates onto the court, then I’m definitely helping.”

If the player Gilmore is going to guard that night is a good shooter, he’ll write: “Don’t let him have any space to shoot.” Or if his man tends to grab a lot of offensive rebounds, he’ll write: “Box out [the player] or find him when a shot goes up.” Offensive reminders include: “Go after offensive rebounds” and “When dribbling in the lane, look for a shot then look for a pass.”

“I think it helps,” Gilmore said.

A defensive point of emphasis that’s shown up on his lists a lot this season is rebounding. Gilmore hasn’t been particularly strong in that area during his career, but he’s making an extra effort this season. Gilmore is the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game — up from 3.9 per game last season. He also recorded the first double-double of his career — 15 points, 16 rebounds — against Mount St. Mary’s.

“Looking back to the beginning of the year, I wasn’t rebounding well,” Gilmore said. “I think I may have been doing it without boxing out. . . . I just made a conscious effort, for the last however many games, just whenever the ball comes off the rim, wherever I am, just try to get it.”

It’s not only his rebounding numbers that have increased this year as Gilmore has moved from being a key reserve last season to a starter this one. He is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.8 points — up from 8.9 — and shooting 50.4 percent from the floor.

“This year, I think because he’s a starter and a senior, he’s got more confidence and [become] more aggressive offensively,” American Coach Jeff Jones said. “He’s more comfortable in taking shots and asserting himself than even last year.”

Defending Patriot League champion American begins its title defense against Lehigh on Saturday. The Eagles host the Mountain Hawks in a 2 p.m. game.

By Kathy Orton  |  January 7, 2009; 12:47 PM ET
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