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Taylor and Tyler Gilbert sign NLIs to become Houston Cougars

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POSTED: November 10, 2011 -- 8:45 a.m. CT

Taylor and Tyler Gilbert

Wednesday, November 9, was the first day of the NCAA Fall signing period for high school student-athletes to sign National Letters of Intent with the college or university of their choice. Todd Buchanan, Houston Cougars head women's basketball coach, announced the signings of five players: Marche Amerson, twin sisters Taylor and Tyler Gilbert, Alecia Smith, and Bianca Winslow.

Taylor and Tyler attend Hightower High School; and, their head coach, Deborah Mize helped put together a celebration for the twins and Danuel House. The three of them signed NLIs to attend the University of Houston.

The Houston Roundball Review spoke with the twins and their very proud parents: Mr. Rodney Gilbert and Mrs. April Gilbert.

Tyler Gilbert Tyler Gilbert

The HRR: Tyler, how does it feel to be a Houston Cougar?

Tyler: It feels great. I'm very excited to finally make it official. I can't wait to get there.
I love it. I enjoy the coaching staff. The players are very cool; and, it's not very far from home.
We didn't want to go too far.

The HRR: Which one of you picked UH first?

Tyler: Me. I did. After we want our unofficial visit, I was like 'We have to commit tomorrow.'

The HRR: Did Taylor long to convince her?

Tyler: No. She wanted to explore more of her options; but, UH was different from the other colleges we talked to. They were way better than the other schools with the atmosphere and the coaches.

The HRR: Talk about what Coach Mize has to you and your sister.

Tyler: She's been a great coach over the years. We've had a great four years with her. She's been very motivating to me and Taylor. She pushes us through everything. She makes sure our grades are As and Bs. She never tells us to give up on anything.

Taylor Gilbert Taylor Gilbert

The HRR: How does it feel to officially be a Houston Cougar?

Taylor: It feels wonderful. It feels great.

The HRR: Your sister said she was the first to pick UH. How long did it take you to decide on UH?

Taylor: It didn't take long. As soon as she told me she was going to make the decision, it took maybe a minute to talk about it. We talked about the good things that helped make the decision and that was it.

The HRR: What do you like about U of H? Why U of H?

Taylor: The environment. We love the program. We love the coaches. We love the school; and, the fact that it's only a few minutes away makes it much better.

Taylor: The fact U of H is close to home. We thought of all the positives that we'd get from going to UH; and, it helped us make the decision.

The HRR: Talk about what Coach Mize means to you.

Taylor: Coach Mize means so much to me because she's pushed me from practice to practice. She's motivated me. She's taught me so much. I've gotten far just learning from Coach Mize. She's not only my coach. She's someone that you can sit down and talk to. She's someone you can learn from. She never settles for less; and, that's one thing that's inspired me.

Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert

The HRR: Do you feel relieved that your daughters are officially Houston Cougars and this signing process is over?

Mrs. Gilbert: Yes. We're glad that that part is over. We're happy with the decision they made. It was really our first decision; and, it ended up being our last one. I'm happy with it.

The HRR: Was it stressful at all? Describe the process.

Mrs. Gilbert: It was stressful. At times, all phones in the house and cell phones were in use. At one point, we were thinking this is just too much and it would be nice if this were done; but, it was exciting all at the same time because I know a lot of student-athletes would like that opportunity. I'm so glad and grateful that my daughters were able to have that opportunity.

The HRR: What about the University of Houston convinced you that you wanted your daughters to attend U of H?

Mr. Gilbert: UH was always on our list; but, when we went to the games and started talking to people like Coach (Todd) Buchanan; and, at the time, Coach (Tari) Cummings, and the teammates and people around the city, choosing UH was always there. They had to decide; and, one day it just clicked 'the University of Houston is where we want to be.'

The HRR: Did you, as parents, influence them to attend UH?

Mrs. Gilbert: Houston was their first choice. At first, I had reservations about them staying this close to home because I said to them 'You need to experience what's going on in other places' because I'm from California and I moved to Texas and I was glad as I was able to experience new places and people. But, the more and more we talked about U of H and the benefits of staying close to home, U of H grew on me and I learned to love it and I haven't looked back since.

CLICK HERE for HRR write-ups of UH women's hoops games.

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