The Omaha Metro Pro-Am Summer league is an annual event that brings players with ties to the Omaha metro area together to compete in front of friends, family and fans. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed this year’s league, but it’s up and running now at the Iowa West Fieldhouse in Council Bluffs.
The Metro League consists of just eight teams this year, but a handful of former Huskers are competing including Anton Gill. Hail Varsity caught up with Gill after his week two game, where he dropped 41 points in a loss.
“I usually just come back here during the summers because of stuff like this,” Gill said. “A lot of places to get in the gym, I have a lot of friends out here. It’s a place where it’s easy for me to come out here and get better.”
Gill started his career at Louisville before transferring to Nebraska, redshirting in 2015-16 and spending two seasons in a Husker jersey. As a senior in 2017-18, Gill started 14 games and averaged 8.1 points while shooting 37.8% from deep.
Gill’s professional career has taken him all over the world the last couple of years. After making the training camp roster for the Lakeland Magic of the NBA G League, Gill spent eight games in Canada in 2019 playing for the Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League. From there, he headed to the Dominican Republic in October 2019 to play for Reales de La Vega of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto. Most recently, Gill signed with Koiviston Kipinä Basket in Finland in January.
“It’s been fun,” Gill said. “A little stressful, because you never really know what’s going to happen, especially with the virus and stuff going on right now, but it’s fun. You get to travel the world. You get to create memories and friends and stuff that you never would have thought you would get so I’m enjoying it. Hopefully I can play for a lot longer; it’s better than having a real job.”
Gill only got to play in four games for Kipinä Basket before the pandemic shut the world down, but in those four games he put up 177 points including a 47-point performance.
“I guess you could say I was playing all right, I guess,” Gill said. “A lot of being a pro is just falling into the perfect opportunity. I just found one of those. Unfortunately it was cut short, but I went on a little run there and things like that help you advance yourself, advance your career. Hopefully it’s only up from here.”
Like so many professional players all across the world, Gill was far from home when the pandemic exploded and countries began shutting down.
“For a second we were worried, but when it happened it happened so fast,” Gill said. “I remember we played a game that Saturday and I think that Monday I was out of there. Luckily I was able to get a flight. I think I was like the last one before they shut down the country. It was a little weird, but I’m glad it worked out.”
For the time being, Gill is getting his hoops fix by working out at Going Vertical in Omaha and competing in the Metro League. He’s playing for Rooferees, the team sponsored by referee John Higgins’ company. In week one, Rooferees beat the Bobcats (Peru State) 107-102. On Wednesday, they dug a double-digit hole, cut the deficit to five latest ran out of gas in a 112-99 loss to Mustangs (Morningside). Gill scored 25 of his 41 in the second half but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
“It felt good, because with this virus going on, we didn’t know when this was going to happen,” Gill said about playing in the league. “For me and my journey, injures and stuff, just being back and playing at a high level, stuff like this is always worth my time.”
Gill is playing with the likes of former Creighton Bluejay and long-time pro Justin Carter, Diane senior and Omaha North grad Anthony Laravie and Rockhurst sophomore and Omaha Creighton Prep alumnus Thomas Faber. Also on the roster is Omaha Central legend Akoy Agau. Gill and Agau spent two seasons together at Louisville before they both transferred and have been close friends ever since.
“He gets on my nerves, but that’s like my best friend, man,” Gill said. “We get into it on the court or whatever but its fun being back out there with him. High school we were like this, college we weren’t so lucky, both having to transfer, a lot of injuries and stuff like that. With me being healthy and him being healthy, it’s fun to get up and down with him.”
Agau played in week one but was out of town on Wednesday. He should be back for week three to form a tough one-two punch with Gill. The league plans to run for a few more weeks with games taking place every Wednesday at 6:30 and 7:30 at the Iowa West Fieldhouse.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.