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UConn Freshman Alterique Gilbert Starring in Documentary

Alterique Gilbert learned a few things about chasing championships before he even arrived at UConn. On Friday fans will have a chance to see the 6-foot point guard lead Miller Grove to a state championship in Georgia when the documentary “Reclaiming the Crown” is released.

“Man I was excited,” Gilbert said after practice Thursday at UConn. “At first it was new to us, a high school team with camera men everywhere, the locker room and things like that. After that we just got refocused and we set a goal, and we reached the goal.

“I can’t wait to see it.”

After winning six straight titles, Miller Grove lost in the Elite 8 during Gilbert’s junior season. But last year they bounced back and claimed their seventh crown in eight years under coach Sharman White, who has moved onto the college ranks as well as an assistant coach at Georgia State.

“It’s a great story and we wanted to capture all of the key elements,” said Marques Burnett, who founded The Sports Utility Vehicle and SUVtv, which followed Miller Grove all season on its title quest.

Burnett said the goal of the documentary was “to capture how Gilbert, nationally known head coach Sharman White, and the entire team would respond after having their historic streak snapped.”

“We lost my junior year and they thought (filming) would be a good idea for us,” said Gilbert, who hoped to view the documentary online Friday with some UConn teammates. “They named it ‘Reclaiming the Crown’, so that’s what we pretty much did. … I’m excited. Any time I can talk about Miller Grove I will.”

Gilbert, who is a freshmen at UConn and will split point guard duties with sophomore Jalen Adams, was part of three title teams at Miller Grove, but the driving force on the 2015-16 team playing a role similar to Kemba Walker’s on the 2011 UConn national championship squad.

“I think he really took it upon himself to be a leader after not winning his junior year,” Burnett said. “I think he’s going to turn a lot of heads (in college). … He plays much bigger than he is and he has all the tools.”

Burnett followed Miller Grove during all four years of Gilbert’s career and recalls a conversation with White during the guard’s freshman year about how great the coach thought he could become.

Gilbert, who was the 34th-ranked player in the Class of 2016, earned plenty of individual awards during his senior year, including a spot on the McDonald’s All-American team, Mr. Georgia Basketball and Georgia Gatorade State Player of the Year.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up like Kemba Walker or Ben Gordon when all is said and done,” Burnett added. “He’s always been a hard worker … but became more of a vocal leader his junior and senior year.”

The crew tried to stay objective during the season while covering the team, but at times it was hard not to root for Miller Grove to succeed.

“It’s one of those things,” Burnett said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see them go as far as they did.”

In addition to winning the state title, Miller Grove (31-3) capped the season as the sixth seed at the eighth annual Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals Invitational, which is a tournament usually reserved for only prep schools. The team beat Finley Prep in the opener last March in New York City, but lost to Oak Hill Academy in the semifinals.

“They didn’t look at it as an upset,” Burnett said Miller Grove win over Prep.

Burnett had a private showing of the documentary at the high school on Wednesday, but Gilbert was unable to attend since he has classes at UConn.

For more information about “Reclaiming the Crown,” or watch the documentary, visit www.thesuvtv.com