The scoring prowess was a bit of a secret for the past three seasons. Barstow point guard Jacob Gilyard was merely a secondary option, content with deferring to a pair of elder teammates on the offensive end of the court.
Their graduation last spring offered Gilyard a primary role in his senior season.
He was ready.
After assuming control of Barstow's offense, Gilyard responded with 33.2 points and 7.0 assists per game as a senior, the biggest shareholder in the Knights’ 20-win season.
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He is The Star’s All-Metro boys basketball player of the year.
“I knew I was going to have to be a leader this year and score a lot more,” Gilyard said. “I was mentally preparing for a lot of different things, even for nights when I was missing shots. I knew I had to keep shooting to help us win games.”
As it turned out, Gilyard didn’t miss often anyway. In only the fourth game of the season, he totaled 50 points in a game, establishing a new school record.
Already, the standard was set. Gilyard, a 5-9 guard who will attend Richmond next season, sidestepped box-and-one defenses for most of the season, utilizing ball-handling skills that simply sliced through them. The Knights even used an assistant coach to guard him during practice.
“Because of his size, he comes from a background of being an underdog. We liked that about him,” Barstow coach Billy Thomas said. “He plays with that chip on his shoulder.”