Kavin Gilder-Tilbury is a 201cm forward from Houston, Texas that is starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the RheinStars Cologne. He played at Texas St. (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 128 games and as a senior played 36 games averaging 15.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 58.8%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 65.7%. He spoke to German Hoops earlier in the summer about Basketball.
Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been? Did you do anything out of the ordinary this summer?
I am currently in my home town Houston Texas. My summer has been good. I just been training all summer getting ready for the next level.
When you look back at your life, have there been more benefits to having the name Kavin than not? At least you have a unique name and it isn´t written Kevin which is a household name.
I haven’t had any benefits for having the name. But I definitely been told it was unique and different.
Congrats on signing with Pro A team RheinStars Cologne. How did you experience your first summer testing the transfer market. Did you notice just how competitive it is when there are so many players trying to land a job somewhere in the world?
It has been a new experience for me. I’ve been learning the process on how things go and what It takes to play at the next level. It’s all about working hard and waiting for an opportunity to present itself and also have the right people in your corner. That’s what I did to get to this point. It’s definitely been a competitive summer. Every work out or training session I’ve been to all the guys were competing making each other better which is the biggest goal.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it´s basketball? Do you have any friends balling overseas?
I don’t really know much about German basketball. I’ve been told there is some competition there and if I work hard I would have a chance to show my talents.
How key was it in your decision to join to have that added bonus of getting your contract extended if the club moves up?
That was very important. At the end of the day it’s a job and to have that insurance to play somewhere my second season is big.
What impressed you most about the RheinStars organization. They are high on your length which will open up many more options for them on offense.
I don’t really know much about the team or the organization but my goal is to win. I am willing to do whatever the coaches ask me to do whether it be score the ball or doing the little things to help my team win.
You stated in 2016 that after your career at Texas State, you want to start a new chapter. What would be the title of your chapter after a season in Germany?
That’s a good question. I haven’t really thought of a title for next season.
Talk a little about your game. You are a versatile player that can light up the scoreboard, and are athletic. What other strengths do you possess that you will showcase as a rookie?
I feel like I am very versatile. I can play 2-4, guarding multiple positions. I can shoot at a high clip, rebound at a high level and I believe I have a good IQ for the game. A great decision maker. I feel I can do a little bit of everything. I don’t want to limit my game.
A big strength in your game is your leadership. You wore the #1 on your jersey at Texas State. You told yourself that you wanted to be a key player for the program. You chose that number just to have that self motivation for when you played each game. Do you feel you can step it up as a leader right away as a professional rookie and will you get the #1 with the RheinStars?
Yes playing college ball for 4 years I seen a lot of basketball. Once I learned the ins and outs of Germany basketball, I believe I can become a great leader for them. Yes I will be wearing #1 for the RheinStars.
Your big inspiration and favorite player is Lebron James. Comparing yourself might be a bit much, but if you had to compare your game to an NBA player which players fits your game most?
I’m not really sure to be honest. I try to study different guards in the NBA like Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and even Kawhi Leonard. That’s ultimately where I want to get to.
You have improved your three point shooting a tad more each season at Texas State. Could you imagine breaking the 40% mark as rookie?
Yes that will be a personal goal for me.
You’re a guy that can really fill up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that you feel doesn´t get noticed enough on the court?
I feel I just have a thing on reading players whether I’d be cutting for a back door layup or stealing a pass.
You played at Texas State from 2013-2017 for head coach Danny Kasper. How did he groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
I would say he made me into a good defender. I feel confident I can guard 2-4.
After your professional career, you want to get into coaching. If you could choose one coaching ability of Danny Kasper that you would like to inherit when you coach what would it be?
I would choose his ability to coach defense. He knew what he was talking about and we won a lot of games because we played defense.
How important was Joel Wright for you in your freshman year. Wright was a senior and would go on to play in the D-League, NBA Summer League and this season will play for Crelan Okapi Aalstar (Belgium-Euromillions League). How did you profit from his game when you were a young buck at Texas State?
I used to love competing with him in practice. He was much bigger and stronger than me but I knew at the end of the day it was getting me better. He just showed me how tough you have to be to play this game. I hope nothing but the best for him.
You were able to improve a bit each season especially in your scoring average. How do you feel has your game grown at Texas State and what part of your game do you see continuing to mature as a professional?
I feel my game has grown a lot over the years. Even since this past season till now I feel I have gotten much better. I’ve been working on my shooting and ball handling all summer trying to become the best player I can be. I feel my potential is still high going into my professional career.
One of your biggest personal achievements was winning MVP in Hawaii. Talk a little about that time. What do you look back most fondly about this time concerning what you did on the court?
The Hawaii trip was very important for me. First it was the start of my senior season and I wanted to make sure I started off strong and confident. Second my mom and family were born and raised in Hawaii so I had an opportunity to play in front of family which was a blessing. Winning MVP was just the icing on the cake
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA2 that made it to the NBA?
I played against RJ Hunter my sophomore year from Georgia State. He was on Boston for a little I believe. I had a pretty good game and defended him well.
How does your summer workout plan look like on and off the court in 2017?
My summer workout plan consists of 2 basketball workouts a day. A lot of cardio and weights twice a week. Off the court the plan is just making sure I’m eating the proper food and relaxing on my down time.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
All time Magic, Bird, MJ, Lebron.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
I think MJ is still the goat but I’ll put Lebron second. Looking past the number of rings and looking at Accolades.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
I feel he has to do those things in order for his team to win. I would fault the coach before Russell.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
Did not really watch the draft. I was rooting for D Fox. I believe he was the best guard in the draft.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I feel that got better picking up Chris Paul. I feel they will compete in the west for many 2-3 playoff spot. They are still missing a piece to beat the Warriors.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
The last movie I saw was called vantage point on Netflix. If you like action movies, I recommend it.
Thanks Kavin for the chat.