Best Local Jock Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2002 - Clarence Gilbert
Readers' Choice: The beach
Gilbert was a sensational basketball player at Dillard High School and ended the regular season of his senior year at the University of Missouri on a down note. Missouri was ranked as high as number two early in the year but, in one disappointment after another, eventually fell into unranked territory. They barely made the NCAA tournament as a 12 seed, and, with Missouri's dismal past record in the Big Dance, few expected much out of the Tigers. But Gilbert wouldn't go down easy. First, the guard came up with a theme for the team -- "The Rock" -- that Coach Quin Snyder said galvanized his club for the tourney. Then Gilbert backed it up on the court, pushing his teammates and averaging about 20 points a game as Mizzou knocked off the University of Miami, Ohio State, and UCLA to become the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the Elite Eight. The bigger, stronger bodies of number-two seed Oklahoma finally stopped the Tigers, but Gilbert left the court proudly; he made Missouri one of the maddest teams in March history.