Written by Matt Wixon
Madison's Admon Gilder, a 3-point machine, a 'gentleman' and one of Dallas' best guards
Fourteen seconds into last year’s Class 3A state semifinal, Admon Gilder hit his first 3-pointer. The Madison guard kept taking them, and making them, until he beat the buzzer with a fifth straight 3-pointer.
It was only the end of the first quarter. That’s how quickly Gilder, playing for the eventual state champions, introduced himself as one of the best shooters ever at the UIL state tournament.
But Gilder’s not a shooter.
“That was just his role last year,” Madison coach Roderick Johnson said. “He’s the complete package.”
The packaging and polishing of Admon Gilder IV, a 6-2, 180-pound junior guard who averages 25.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists per game for the state’s top-ranked 3A team, began many years ago. At age 4, he would go to the gym to work out with his father, Admon Gilder III.
“I was always dribbling around, going on the court, being annoying,” Gilder said.
It has always been difficult to get Gilder off the court. At Reinhardt Elementary in Dallas, which has students through fifth grade, Gilder started playing on the school’s basketball team when he was in second grade.
“They were reluctant to let him do it because of his size,” Gilder’s father said. “But the coach said he was the best player at the school.”
By sixth grade, Gilder was getting in pick-up games with high school players at the Madison gym. He spent eighth grade at Triple A Academy, playing alongside current Triple A stars King McClure and Tyler Singleton, who he faced twice in District 11-3A play this season. Gilder averaged 24 points in Madison’s two wins over Triple A.
At Madison, a basketball powerhouse with three state appearances and two 3A titles in the last five seasons, Gilder stepped into a starting role as a freshman. As a sophomore, his job was to knock down 3-pointers, and at the state tournament, he hit 11 of 17 and was named to the all-tournament team.
“Now as an upperclassman, we’re asking him to do more and he’s embracing that role,” Johnson said. “He’s bringing more balance to his game.”
Gilder, who has scholarship offers from schools such as Baylor, SMU, Texas and Texas A&M, plays shooting guard but is expected to take over at the point when senior Cameron Bryant graduates. Gilder can still splash 3-pointers, but he also scores on midrange jumpers, floaters in the lane and acrobatic moves. Watching him glide around the court, you can see hints of his NBA idol: Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
“I was just playing my role last year,” Gilder said. “I’m basically playing everything now doing everything it takes to win. I’m rebounding more, going to the rack more and getting to the free throw line.”
Gilder’s role is more complex on this year’s team, which is 24-3 and plays Carrollton Ranchview on Friday in the area round of the playoffs. But his life is simpler than a year ago, when his mom, Paula Gilder, was battling breast cancer. Admon Gilder III said that his wife is doing well now thanks to medical treatments and the support of Fourth Avenue Church of Christ in Dallas.
But last year was difficult for the family.
“Mon would be in church crying one moment,” Gilder said of his son, “and then be on the court.”
Things are back to normal for Madison’s basketball star, and that means a lot of basketball. An hour after Madison’s basketball practice ends, Gilder is still on the floor, sinking jumpers, dribbling, running and doing pushups. Anything to get faster, stronger and better.
Players like him don’t come around often, Johnson said. Good student, great teammate the complete package.
“He’s a coach’s dream,” Johnson said. “A gentleman off the court and a beast on the court.”