Charlotte Hornets

‘I’ve always loved the Hornets:’ Charlotte’s Anthony Gill living a summer dream

Former Virginia player Anthony Gill (13), grew up in Charlotte and his dream job is playing for the Hornets.
Former Virginia player Anthony Gill (13), grew up in Charlotte and his dream job is playing for the Hornets. AP

When Anthony Gill was a kid, he was a constant visitor to the Charlotte Coliseum to watch the original Hornets.

Gill would be happy playing anywhere in the NBA, but there’s no maybe what his dream scenario would be.

I’ve always loved the Hornets. My dad always took me to games. Just having this practice uniform on is amazing for me.

Anthony Gill

“It would mean the world” to make the Hornets’ regular-season roster, Gill said Thursday. “I’ve always loved the Hornets. My dad always took me to games. Just having this practice uniform on is amazing for me.”

Gill played for Charlotte Christian before a college career with South Carolina and then Virginia. He keeps an apartment “just down the street” from Spectrum Center, where he is practicing this week in preparation for summer-league games in Orlando, Fla.

Gill_2(2)
Forward Anthony Gill (31) has been penciled in as a starter for the Charlotte Hornets’ summer-league team in Orlando. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Gill missed out on summer league and an NBA training camp a year ago, after going unselected in the 2016 draft. Abdominal pain – doctors never diagnosed the cause – sidetracked his summer. He instead signed to play in Turkey, moving himself and his wife to a small city where little English was spoken.

Gill said that adventure was a great lesson in self-responsibility.

“In Turkey, and with a lot of overseas teams, nobody is going to tell you to go put up shots in the gym; it’s all up to you,” Gill said.

Hornets assistant Stephen Silas, who’ll coach the summer-league team, plans to start Gill at power forward. The other projected starters: Briante Weber at point guard, rookie Dwayne Bacon at shooting guard, Treveon Graham at small forward and Johnny O’Bryant at center.

Silas has known Gill for a long time, serving as a resource in the past.

“He’s been in constant communication with me,” Gill said. “It’s been great to be back on the court with him, coached in a hands-on basis.”

I’m not a magician and I do not have a cat.

Anthony Gill

Gill’s teammates might want to be wary, because he is known to be a prankster. His Wikipedia page makes mention of him performing magic and owning a two-headed cat.

“I’m not a magician and I do not have a cat. That was a trick I was playing on my (sports information director) at Virginia,” Gill said.

If everything on the Internet was true?

“We’d all be in trouble,” Gill replied.

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The Charlotte Hornets will lean on point guard Briante Weber (0) to keep the summer-league roster organized in Orlando starting Saturday. Chuck Burton AP

Weber’s responsibility

Weber, who played a handful of games for the Hornets last season, will have heavy responsibility in Orlando for keeping a bunch of relative strangers organized offensively and defensively.

The Hornets’ summer-league team is hurting for depth at the point. Former Arizona point guard Gabe York, who played in Italy and the G-League last season, hasn’t scrimmaged this week due to a sprained ankle.

If York can’t play in Saturday’s opener against the Miami Heat, former Maryland guard Rasheed Sulaimon will play point behind Weber.

While O’Bryant will start at center, Silas will play him lots at power forward and bring in Przemek Karnowski or Mangok Mathiang.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell

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