Troy Gillenwater couldn't help it. He tried to hide his excitement but he couldn't do it. Nor should he. The 6-foot-7 junior was back in his home town of Boston, playing in front of friends and family. He is in the best shape he has ever been in. And by the way, he was down right spectacular at National Prep Showcase.
Gillenwater was the go-to guy for his California based Stoneridge Prep team last week in his home state and he played like a guy with something to show his circle of trust.
"The whole family was here. They had a couple of signs and they were cheering me on. It was nice to see that," Gillenwater said. "I was looking forward to this tournament and we're coming back in February to Rhode Island so I'm looking forward to that, too."
If he can have the same kind of production he had in Worcester, watch out. In a three game stretch, Gillenwater averaged 29.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while 62 percent from the floor. The four-star forward said he had to bring his best game.
"My whole family was going to be here so I had to prove to them that moving there was good. I hadn't seen them since September when I left for school," he said.
What his family saw was a slimmed down, focused player. Gillenwater dropped 20 pounds and played with more bounce his step. He looked like the player he was in April, when he dominated the AAU circuit. Gillenwater credits his workout regime at Stoneridge.
"We are working a lot more and running a lot more. In practice it seems more tight but in the games it's a little more loose. I can run a little bit more there," he said. "I know I'm going to need to get better in conditioning some more because that means I'll be playing a lot more.
"My shooting and finishing is better. It makes it easier because I don't have to worry about rebounding as much as I would if it was just me doing the rebounding. I can do a little big more. I'm getting more open shots because they are focusing on the seven-footers and everyone else."
It comes as no surprise that he's shaping up as one of the most sought after post players in the big man thin group of 2008. Gillenwater said Arizona, USC, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Washington, Florida and Nebraska are looking at him.
"It's been the same schools recruiting me now that it was recruiting me back in the summer," Gillenwater said. "But I like Oklahoma State a lot. That's for sure. I like Georgetown and Arizona."
With a West Coast heavy school list, Gillenwater said he would like to get back to the Northeast.
"I do want to come back to the East Coast but I don't really hear from them at all. My mom may talk to them but I haven't heard from them."
Playing in front of friends and family has served him well already this season.