Signing day: Melvin Gilliam Jr. to take his famous name to Southwestern
BY MIKE MOGUIN World Correspondent
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Melvin Gilliam Jr. was one of 11 Hornet athletes and nine football players to sign a letter of intent Wednesday to play in college at Nathan Harris Fieldhouse.
Like most athletes when they sign in front of their classmates, it was a special moment for Gilliam, a linebacker going to Southwestern College in of Winfield, Kan.
“Seeing everybody from the school come out and watch us, it was real fun,” Gilliam said. “Having my parents back there watching me, it was just a good feeling. All the accomplishments have paid off.”
If the name sounds familiar, it's because Gilliam is the son of Melvin Gilliam, who was a standout athlete in football and basketball at Booker T. Washington before going to Oklahoma State to play both sports in the 1980s.
Growing up under the tutelage of his father has been of benefit to the younger Gilliam.
“I enjoy it. I tease him. He tells me I’m bigger than him, but not as fast. But we tease each other about everything. I look up to the competition. I know I won’t be as good of an athlete, but I can be the smartest, or smarter than he was when he played,” Gilliam said smiling.
“He has always been my hero about decisions I make in school, outside of school, on the field, he has just always been with me.’”
Gilliam will not be the only Booker T athlete going to Southwestern to play sports. So is boys soccer player Dakota Hardman.
“At first, I didn’t know he was going there,” Gilliam said of Hardman. “I think it's pretty cool to have someone up there you know that you can be cool with.”
When Gilliam visited Southwestern, he knew it was the place for him to be.
“It was just nice,” he said. “We ate before the game. It was a good game and they ended up winning too, and the coach told me that I had a good chance starting this year. So I’m going in, working hard and ready to play.”
Melvin Gilliam Jr. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World