After being a standout basketball player for East St. Louis High School, Phillip Gilbert enjoyed a successful college career at Bradley University before going onto play professionally in Europe for several years.
But Gilbert never forgot about East St. Louis and those who helped him along the way.
Now, with his days as a professional career over, Gilbert is giving back to his community and his school.
Gilbert has organized the 2014 (East St. Louis) Lincoln vs. East St. Louis High Scholarship Alumni Basketball Game, which will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at East St. Louis High School.
"When I was playing basketball in Europe, I always thought about wanting to give back and helping others. There were people who helped me get to where I wanted to and fulfill my dreams and so I want to do the same,'' Gilbert said. "The proceeds will go to two deserving high school seniors as college scholarships and we hope this will turn into an annual event.
"There is a rich basketball tradition at both East St. Louis and Lincoln High Schools. This is a chance for the players to come out and re-live their playing days for a night and for fans of both programs to come out and enjoy themselves. It should be a fun night for everybody.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under.
Thirty-two players have signed up to participate. Gilbert, who graduated from East St. Louis in 2000, will be one of 16 former Flyers competing. Rita Adams, a 1999 graduate of Lincoln is the only girl on either roster.
Adams played four years at the University of Kentucky.
All proceeds from the game go toward the Phillip Gilbert Scholarships, which offers college scholarships for one boy and one girl who are involved in extra curricular activities, maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average and have no discipline problems.
Recipients of the 2014 Phillip Gilbert Scholarship are East St. Louis High School seniors DeMarco Jackson and Cayci Lewis.
Jackson will be attending Tennessee State University and Lewis will attend Lane University in Jackson, Tenn.
Gilbert said that other festivities, including a 50-50 drawing, will be held at halftime.
"The response we've gotten from former players wanting to compete, the East St. Louis High School administration and school district and people around the community has been outstanding,'' Gilbert said. "We are hoping for a big crowd and that people come out and just really have a good time. It should be a fun night.''
Following are the rosters for the 2014 East St. Louis-Lincoln Alumni basketball game. Graduating classes are in brackets.
East St. Louis: Darwin Jones (2000); Terrence "Duke" Liddell ('04); Javar "Sweet Pea" Holeman (1996); Rosario "Dre" James ('02); Dawanzelle Hopson ('99); Bernie "BDiddy" Hughes ('00); Ed White ('00); Phillip Gilbert ('00); Devrice Johnson ('98); Josh Harris ('00); Craig Hoskins ('01); Herbert Harris ('00); Harold Hollingsworth ('97); Cortez Ward ('94); Spencer Hughes ('97) and Tito Brown (98)
East St. Louis Lincoln: Carlos Moore (2000); Che "Butta" Boatman ('00); Dariel "Boonie" Hawkins (1999); Mario "Rio" Brittain ('00); Rita Adams ('99); Kyrous Fisher ('99); Lavan Blissitt ('00); Marlow Ferguson ('92); Carlos Lott ('97); Jason "Skinny" Hicks ('98); Lydell Pitts ('99); Russell "Snowman" Pelly ('00); Ike "Chef Ike" Lewis ('99); Lambert "Lam Wodie" Moore ('94); Kenneth "KJ" Johnson ('99) and Kimon Green (97).