Travis Gill has a unique relationship with his grandmother, Carmen Gill. She attended virtually every one of his games at Xaverian and still calls him 10 times a day.
“I live with my mom, but since I was little, we had a close relationship,” he said.
If not for Carmen Gill, Travis Gill may be headed to prep school with an uncertain future. Instead, he has signed with Division II College of St. Rose, may start as a freshman and has a full scholarship awaiting him at the Albany school.
Carmen Gill and her husband, Glyme, went along with Travis Gill during his visit to St. Rose on Sunday. He was hung up most of the summer on playing Division I basketball, but she didn’t want to hear any of it, emphasizing the free education over basketball.
“She was on my back,” the 18-year-old said with a laugh. “I said, ‘Grandma, it’s my decision.’ But she kept pushing me. I sat back and thought, she was right.”
On Aug. 17, Travis Gill made the decision, committing and signing with the city-heavy program and longtime coach Brian Beaury. He joins former adversaries, Dominykas Milka and Kareem Thomas of Christ the King and Chris Dorgler of Archbishop Molloy.
Xaverian coach Jack Alesi called his commitment “a home run.” The versatile wing was dynamite for the Clippers as a senior, scoring inside and out, often guarding the opposition’s top scoring threat, and making plays for his teammates.
“There’s no denying Travis has Division I ability and what he also has is tremendous character and tremendous work ethic,” Alesi said. “There’s not a better kid on the planet than Travis Gill. He’s about respect, he’s about commitment, he’s about loyalty – all the things that make a student athlete today.”
Above all else, Travis Gill said he chose St. Rose because of Beaury, who has won over 500 games in 24 seasons, been to the Division II NCAA Tournament 11 times and is a member of the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
“He was real positive and he understood what I was going through,” Travis Gill said. “He told me all the right things, as far as playing time and not only basketball-wise, how it was going to set me up for the future.”
Gill was hopeful as recently as two weeks ago he would land a Division I scholarship when he took an unofficial visit to Mount St. Mary. The NEC school liked Gill, but didn’t offer, like so many other Division I programs over the summer.
St. Rose entered the picture on Friday and after much back and forth, Travis Gill made his decision.
“It feels great to have this lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “This was the most stressful weekend of my life, going back and forth, trying to figure out what I was gonna do. … I just decided everybody tries to go to prep school and I didn’t want to be in one of those people in the same position, trying to battle for a scholarship next summer. When the summer started, I was thinking I have to get to Division I, but at this point I’m just happy to be going to college for free.”