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Fairfield University standout forward Marcus Gilbert, an All-MAAC First Team selection in his senior season last year, has signed a professional contract with FMC Ferentino in Italy’s highly-competitive A2 Second Division, located just east of Rome.
The Stags have strong ties to basketball in Italy. The Italian legacy has included Rakim Sanders (Reggiana) and Derek Needham (Olimpia Milano), who squared off in the Italian League Championship series this past season. In addition, current Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson played for both Gorizia Pallacanestro and Reggio Calabria, where he captured league titles, following his college career at Princeton.
“It feels great to now say that I am a pro,” said Gilbert, a product of Smyrna, Delaware. “Ever since I was a freshman, I told myself that I am going to expand my game and continue to get better through my years of college. Right now I see that all my hard work and dedication to the game is paying off. I would like to thank my coaches and my family for giving me the support I needed to put me in a position to succeed. This is only the beginning.”
“Marcus deserves to be a pro,” said coach Johnson. “First, there’s no better person that I’ve coached than Marcus. Second, he can really play. All of his hard work and leadership has been rewarded with a pro contract in Italy. So proud of him. We’re building something special here at Fairfield and there was no greater contributor to what we did in 2015-16 than Marcus.”
If his collegiate success is any indication, Gilbert should have plenty of good times ahead. He finished his career as one of the top scorers in Fairfield history, netting 1,661 points to rank fourth all-time. He also scored 240 three-point field goals as a Stag, second all-time in school annals. The 6-6 forward was an All-MAAC First Team selection in his senior season.
Gilbert’s influence on last year’s 19-14 team was immeasurable, leaving his mark on the program and his teammates, a group of student-athletes who hope to build on the fact that Fairfield posted one of the finest single-season turnarounds in Division I a year ago.