2010 NBA Draft Prospect Interview: Marquis Gilstrap

To end up starting at forward in the Big 12 usually means that you played four years of high school basketball, were a top recruit, made it to one of the Big 12 schools on scholarship, and then performed well enough during your time on campus to move into the starting lineup.  Marquis Gilstrap definitely proved from the minute he was on Iowa State’s campus that he deserved to play, but the rest of the steps were missing.  Following high school Gilstrap played at Palm Beach Community College, where he suffered a broken leg, before having his breakout season at Gulf Coast Community College.  At Gulf Coast, Gilstrap had a fantastic season and was the 29th ranked recruit, including high school senior and junior college transfers, and eventually decided to continue his college basketball career at Iowa State University.

In his lone year at Iowa State, Gilstrap showed a diverse set of skills that makes him an intriguing NBA prospect.  Teams like Gilstrap’s tenacity on the boards and in individual workouts he has shown the ability to shoot the ball from outside, something that may surprise NBA teams.  He rebounds the ball so well on the defensive end that he ranks ahead of projected first round picks Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, Ed Davis, Gordon Hayward, Hassan Whiteside, Larry Sanders, and Paul George, just to name a few.  This high level of rebounding, despite being undersized for the power forward position brings to mind Paul Millsap of the Jazz. Coming out of college Millsap was considered a low risk pick in the second round and has become one of the most efficient power forwards in the NBA, contributing big numbers for the Jazz this season.  What Gilstrap does even better than Millsap is step outside and knock down shots.  Additionally, he is an incredible athlete, and is more of a combo three-four, than a true power forward.  We would be surprised if we didn’t hear Marquis’ name called at some point on draft night, the question is where?

We currently project Marquis to be drafted somewhere in the second round.  To move into the first round, something that would surprise most draft analysts, he has to continue to impress in individual workouts.  So far he’s played in front of a few NBA teams, against talent ranging from players projected to be undrafted to those thought to be lottery candidates, and he’s excelled against every single player.  We’re sure his performance in workouts so far has opened a few eyes, and with a lot of workouts remaining, we’re excited to see what happens with Marquis on June 24th.

Read our full interview with Marquis below:

The Rookie Wall: After playing at Gulf Coast Community College you moved on to Iowa State.  What made you pick that school?  What other schools were you considering?
Marquis Gilstrap: The coaching staff and Kantrail Horton who was an ex-player at Iowa State.

TRW: Iowa State really struggled this year in the Big 12 despite a very talented front court with you and Craig Brackins.  What did you learn this season?  Why do you think the team struggled so much?
MG: With only having 2 years of organized basketball experience under my belt, playing at this level really taught me the X’s and O’s of the game. I came to Iowa State with just my raw talent and playing at Iowa State helped me to become a better student of the game.

TRW: Do you feel that you were able to show your full potential at Iowa State this year?
MG: I felt I didn’t have a chance to really show my full potential mainly because I played out of position, which was ok with me because I became a match up problem on the offensive end, and at the end of the day I just wanted to be on the floor to help my team win.

TRW: What was the highlight of your college career?
MG: The highlight of my college career was defeating Kansas State on senior night.

TRW: You opted to leave Iowa State, despite potentially having another year of eligibility.  Did you petition the NCAA for another year, or did you decide to go pro immediately after your last game with Iowa State?  What went into that decision?
MG: I began the process, but after sitting down with my family I decided to take my talent to the next level.

TRW: What NBA player do you compare your game to?
MG: I would say a combination of Trevor Ariza  and Wilson Chandler, I can guard smaller quicker guys, shoot, rebound and run the floor.

TRW: Have you signed with an agent yet?  If so, why did you select them?
MG: Yes I signed with Eric Fleisher, reason I signed with him was the fact that he was honest with me and my family from the beginning. He built a good relationship with my parents and made them feel comfortable. Also, another reason was the relationship I built with Errol Jackson that helped me really put things in prospective when it came to making my decision.

TRW: How was playing at Portsmouth this year?  Did you get feedback from any NBA teams there?
MG: My play at Portsmouth wasn’t my best, I was a little frustrated with my play but I was happy that we were winning and I knew if we continued to win that I would be looked at in a different light. The feedback I received was good, a lot of teams showed interest in me from what my agent told me. I also had a few interviews that week with various teams that went well. So I just want to continue to grow as a player and work hard on my game up till the draft.

TRW: What have you heard about your draft position?  If you aren’t drafted do you plan on playing overseas, or will you go to the D-League and hope to be called up?
MG: Well I’m hearing that I’m a mid/late 2nd round pick, but if I continue to improve my game, which I think I have since I’ve been working with Joe Connelly, I think when I go to NBA workouts I will impress a lot of people when they see the improvement I have made over the past month.

TRW: Is there anything you’d like to add?
MG: I would like to thank God for blessing me and allowing me to be  in this situation, as well as all my family and close friends that have supported me throughout my journey.

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