VMI’s Gilkeson ponders next step as pandemic pauses plans of going pro

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PARKERSBURG, WV (WFXR) — Garrett Gilkeson had an accomplished career at VMI. In his senior season, he led the Keydets in rebounding, assists and minutes played.

And the West Virginia-native had dreams of a pro career overseas. Then the pandemic hit, putting his plans on pause.

“I didn’t really touch a ball. I didn’t touch any weights,” Gilkeson said. “It was really just two months of just relaxing and enjoying family and just clearing my mind.”

Gilkeson needed a break from basketball when his college career at VMI ended. So you could say that the pandemic couldn’t have come at a better time for the Parkersburg high school product.

“Getting everything off of basketball and just worrying about myself and it really helped me appreciate the game more,” Gilkeson said.

Eventually, the sport that played a huge role in Gilkeson’s life came calling back. And it led to a big decision from the now ex-Keydet who just finished his degree in business and economics.

“And I was determining whether I wanted to go just straight into the business world or to play,” Gilkeson said. “And just after a couple of months, you’re like, ‘I miss the game’ so I’m going to go play.”

After signing with an agent, Gilkeson realized he had nowhere to go. Not because teams didn’t want him, but because the pandemic left him stuck at home. Rising cases in the United States led to much of Europe barring any American travelers from going overseas.

“Really at this point I’m training and everything, but it’s definitely tough,” Gilkeson said. “Some teams were optimistic and some teams weren’t. They’re like ‘we’re going to play on this day or whatever, we’re going to have a full season’ and others are like ‘well, we’re not sure.’ Now no one knows and there’s no set dates on anything and they’re definitely not going to sign foreigners. At least not at this point, so it’s definitely going to be tough to see how long this lasts before they make the decision.”

For now, Gilkeson continues to train for a possible pro career though he remains unsure of what the future has in store.

“I’m just going to keep focusing on my game and just trying to better myself for basketball and just in life. Preparing myself for whether I want to enter the business world or if the chance comes to play, I’ll go play,” Gilkeson said.

“But probably at the moment, just keep working out.”

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