When Eric Gilchrese started playing basketball for the Trailblazers nine years ago, his dream was to go pro, and after a lot of hard work, he is living his dream.
Gilchrese, 27, of Springfield, Illinois, plays professional basketball in Austria and has played for professional teams in Canada, China, Norway and Macedonia.
Gilchrese played point guard for the Trailblazers from 2005-2007, where he was All-Conference, All-Region and in 2007 led his team to the NJCAA tourney’s Final Four.
After Lewis and Clark, he played NCAA D-I basketball for New Hampshire University where he received his degree in sociology.
Trailblazers Men’s Basketball Coach Doug Stotler said he knew Gilchrese was destined for great things.
“Eric is a hard worker, a talented basketball player and a great young man,” Stotler said. “I’m sure he knew that following his dream to play pro would be a challenge, but that is one thing about Eric, he is always up for a good challenge.”
Gilchrese said it was his time at Lewis and Clark that laid the foundation for where he is today.
“The people I met at Lewis and Clark still have an influence in my life to this day,” Gilchrese said. “Head Coach Doug Stotler was my biggest mentor, a great coach, was a father figure and is still one of my best friends.”
“Without the education I received at Lewis and Clark, I don’t think I would be in the position I am today. My L&C education opened doors and jump started my career.”
Gilchrese says his best advice for current students is to “never get comfortable and keep pushing.”
“Make a promise to yourself and do not break it no matter what obstacles or problems arise,” Gilchrese said. “I am a walking testament that anything is possible if you go about it the correct way.”