When one Texas State athlete started playing basketball at the age of nine, he had no idea the sport would take him so far.
Now in his final year of playing as a college athlete, he chooses not to dwell on his last season, but rather be optimistic towards his future.
Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, senior forward, is one of the leading players for the Bobcats and has been ever since he joined the team during his freshman year.
In grade school, Gilder-Tilbury’s older brother first inspired him to play. Then, he made the varsity team during his sophomore year of high school. Since then, Gilder-Tilbury’s passion has been all things basketball.
Gilder-Tilbury chose to play college basketball at Texas State for the coaching, atmosphere and environment, but being a Bobcat has lead him to success the past few years.
During his freshman year at Texas State, Gilder-Tilbury started in 10 out of the 30 games he played in, and led the team with a 37.3 three-point shooting percentage. As a sophomore, he was named College Sports Madness Player of the Week in games against the Red Wolves and Trojans. In his junior year, improvement had shown when he started in all 31 games.
Although the 2016-17 season has only just begun, Gilder-Tilbury is off to an impressive start.
“My greatest achievement is winning MVP in Hawaii this year,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “I was leading my guys and I played really well, so other coaches recognized that. It’s very a fulfilling achievement to have moving forward.”
Moving forward is exactly what Gilder-Tilbury plans to do. During his last season, he plans to focus on demonstrating to the team and finishing strong.
“I look forward to continuing to lead my team,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “It’s still a little early, but we’re still getting better, so I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard every game.”
Leadership is always what Gilder-Tilbury has wanted to display. One way he shows this is through the number on his back: number one.
“I told myself that I wanted to be a key player for the program,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “I chose that number just to have that self motivation for when I played each game.”
In addition to his teammates and coaches, another motivation for Gilder-Tilbury comes from someone he admires.
“My favorite player is definitely LeBron James,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “He’s the best leader and he’s just so confident, and I aspire to be that.”
LeBron James is one of the most successful players in the NBA, and Gilder-Tilbury often thinks about his own future in basketball.
“Coach is always reminding me, ‘don’t think about playing pro and think about this game,’ and that’s what I’m doing,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “But at the end of the day, I definitely want to take my game further.”
In addition to dreaming big, Gilder-Tilbury has set a goal that still involves basketball without playing the game.
“College basketball definitely made me want to coach someday,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “Hopefully I go pro, but my biggest goal is just to be successful and be happy at what I’m doing.”
With his last season still ahead of him, Gilder-Tilbury is excited for what might come after it.
“Something I’m looking forward to in life beyond college is just starting a new chapter,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “I’ve been here for four years. I love it here, and I’m just ready to start a new chapter. Wherever life takes me, I’ll be happy.”
Although his college basketball career will come to an end soon, Gilder-Tilbury will step onto the court to give it his all during each game before finally stepping into a new journey.