Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard has heard it all of his life, and it’s the sort of thing most basketball players would consider music to their ears.
Yet few are fortunate enough to hear it.
His coach wants him to shoot the ball more.
“Even in junior college, when I’d go see him play, he’s such a great passer, he’d want to pass it all the time,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. “I want him to shoot it a little bit more.”
Gadsden-Gilliard, being called KGG around ETSU these days, says he’s ready for the challenge.
“Coach tells me I pass too much,” Gadsden-Gilliard said. “I need to score the ball more. I have to focus on that. My background is as a guard, handling the ball a lot and having to pass a lot. That’s kind of stuck in my mentality. Now I have to score the ball a little more.
“My father’s been telling me that since I was little.”
It’s difficult to imagine Gadsden-Gilliard ever being little. He’s listed at 6-5, 250. Bartow calls him 270. As a tight end and defensive end, he played in the South Carolina high school all-star game after his senior year.
Whatever his size, one of the Bucs’ new players is expected to play a very big role his season, and since he arrived on campus after two years at Roane State Junior College, the reviews on Gadsden-Gilliard have been glowing.
“Kinard is an unusual player,” Bartow said. “He played point guard some in junior college. He’s 6-5, 270 but he has a very unusual skill set for a guy that size. He has an incredibly high basketball IQ. He knows how to play. He can play inside or on the perimeter. He sees what’s going on, which a lot of guys don’t.
“And he’s one of those glue guys, team guys.”
Gadsden-Gilliard averaged an efficient 14 points and seven rebounds a game last year while being chosen the Tennessee junior college player of the year. He also shot 56 percent from the field, including almost 40 percent from 3-point range, and dished out almost three assists a game.
“I just want him to be a little more assertive,” Bartow said. “I don’t want him to get us eight (points) and four (rebounds). I want 15 and eight. He’s capable of that.”
The Bucs open the season Saturday with a home exhibition game against Carson-Newman. Then it’s on to the regular season opener Nov. 10 at Virginia Tech. ETSU’s non-conference schedule also includes games against North Carolina, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arizona and Virginia Commonwealth.
“Scheduling is recruiting-based and team-based,” Bartow said. “When you can go out and recruit and say ‘We’re gonna play these teams,’ it pops. There’s sizzle to it.
“With our team, I bring it up probably every day, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia and the teams we’re gonna play. That drives players to get better. You’re gonna have better practices and weight-room sessions because they’re thinking about those games.”
Playing in in the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill, N.C., will be a thrill for Gadsden-Gilliard, who grew up in Georgetown, S.C., yet pulled for the Tar Heels.
“I was a North Carolina fan before ETSU, he said. “That will be an experience right there. But we’re looking to win that game. No friends, no love.”