WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Alterique Gilbert had always dreamt of playing in March Madness.
“I just grew up watching March Madness as a kid just like everyone else,” said Gilbert. “You do see the great guards go through the college game and it’s just exciting for me — it brings back a lot of memories.”
During his four-year stint at the University of Connecticut, the former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American was never able to reach his full potential due to persistent injuries. He felt his dream – playing on college basketball’s biggest stage – begin to slip away.
“I knew Wichita State had a great winning history, and I remember playing against them, and you know, how they competed, and I was familiar with that, and I was kind of attracted to that,” said Gilbert.
He entered the transfer portal and landed at Wichita State. His goal was clear: “I really just wanted to focus on my opportunities to win.”
The Shockers were picked to finish seventh in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. Gilbert’s faith in the program never wavered.
“Just being in the league for a while, and having an eye, watching how the team came together. I knew we were going to be very competitive,” said Gilbert.
Despite adversity throughout the season, from the resignation of Gregg Marshall – the Shockers’ winningest coach to playing amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gilbert remained focused.
“It was kind of just kind of magical, in my opinion, how the group just developed over the months and got better on and off the court,” he said.
Now, he has found exactly what he was looking for — winning an AAC conference title, and making it to the NCAA Tournament.
“I just think it was a great time for God to show his presence in my life,” said Gilbert.
Although eligible, he has not made a final decision on whether or not he will return to the program next season.