Chris Guilfo has parlayed a successful high-school basketball career into an opportunity to play at the next level.
After a stellar run at First Presbyterian Christian Academy, Guilfo signed a letter of intent Tuesday to play for the Central Georgia Technical College Cougars.
Guilfo’s speed and shooting skills helped the Highlander basketball team win the Georgia Independent School Association Region 2-AA title this season. The Highlanders also were the state runners-up. He averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.4 steals and 2.2 rebounds per game as he was named to the Region 2-AA All-Region Team, GISA All-State Team and the GISA All-Star Team.
Guilfo, who has a 3.79 grade-point average at FPCA and plans to study accounting and business at CGTC in Macon, said it was the coaching staff that sealed his choice.
“Most of the time you can’t really bond with them (coaches) like on a friendship level. But when I was talking to them, it was like talking to one of my teammates,” he said.
Guilfo said it is a great opportunity, one he thinks may open doors to other college and, later, professional opportunities. Eventually, he wants to become a physical therapist, but he will shoot for the National Basketball Association or the European League.
“I need to keep working hard and doing everything that got me to this point so far — hard work and dedication and a lot of sacrifices,” he said.
Guilfo’s performance at the state quarterfinals and semifinals at Mercer University in Macon got the attention of CGTC assistant coach Jamie Brooks.
“He is a tremendous athlete … He is super-quick and super-talented and can really knock down the 3s as well,” Brooks said. “The biggest thing is he pushes the ball in transition, and that is what we want. He is going to fight for a starting spot … we play 10-11 guys a game … we will be throwing him into the fire, and we hope he produces.” The Cougars will enter their fourth year of basketball in the upcoming season.
Last season, the Cougars made the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association Conference playoffs for the first time in their relatively young history. CGTC went 10-21 last season, according to the college’s website. Brooks thinks the team could win a conference title with someone like Guilfo running the ball.
“I am very proud of Chris for everything he has done academically and on the court to get to this level,” Highlander basketball coach Ernie Walthour said. “We are passing him off to a great program. He has done everything we’ve asked him to do, and we are just excited for him. He has been a role model here at the school and as a Coastal Crew Rebel during the summer months.”
FPCA headmaster Trang C. Black said student-athletes like Guilfo and Richard Lovelady, who signed a baseball scholarship to East Georgia College on Monday, are great examples of why she is thrilled to be the school’s new headmaster.
“It makes you really proud to be part of an organization where the kids are fantastic and this just shows everyone else what we already know,” she said. “They have great academics, they are great in athletics, and they are just great kids and it was nice to walk into that.”
No one seemed more thrilled Tuesday than Guilfo’s parents, Karrima and Chris Guilfo Sr.
“It’s a really great day,” Chris Guilfo Sr. said. “He worked hard to get to where he is at, and I am very proud of him. He paid attention to his coaches and he worked hard at his craft.”
“It’s truly a special day,” Karrima Guilfo added.