The Greenbrier East Spartans basketball team has gotten off to a hot 8-2 start this season which also includes a top 10 ranking and a win over the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles at the Raleigh County Convention Center; a feat that happened for just the fourth time in 45 years.
For the past couple weeks, the Spartans have battled injuries, Covid quarantines and other obstacles, but one constant so far has been the play of senior transfer William Gabbert.
Gabbert moved here from Charleston with his family, including his brother Goose who is currently one of the aforementioned injured Spartans on the roster. His dad Trent played basketball for East a couple decades ago, but William has played the past three years for the George Washington Patriots.
Currently averaging over 20 points per game on the year, Gabbert has taken on a leadership role with his new teammates in Greenbrier County.
“I have tried to bring leadership and a winning attitude to East,” Gabbert said.
“At GW I learned the value in playing to your potential and how to gut out games even when your shots are not falling,” he continued.
Shots not falling has not been an issue yet for Gabbert this season. Since the injury to Bailee Coles, Gabbert took his scoring average from 14.5 ppg to over 20-plus. He had a 34 point game in the first contest of the NRCTC Invitational on Thursday night, April 1.
Gabbert swears his style of play is consistent no matter the school.
“Basketball is basketball. Coach (Rick) Greene and Coach Coles may have different philosophies, but at the end of the day both programs are striving to win state championships,” Gabbert said.
Playing for former NBA player Bimbo Coles has also helped Gabbert get better, and he says Coles has that competitive spirit from his playing days that he is instilling in his team now.
“Playing for Bimbo is great. He gives me confidence and the freedom to go out there and play my game. He’s also a very competitive person and he expects us to bring that same energy. I’m sure that If he were allowed, that he would be out there playing with us,” Gabbert joked.
Fans and the community have latched onto Gabbert as one of their own, but he says the Greenbrier Valley has always been like home.
“Lewisburg was always like a second home to us because we were down here every holiday season and in the summer. It’s great to be down here closer to so much of our family,” Gabbert said.
Fans can see Gabbert and the Spartans again this Tuesday, April 6 when they will host a rematch with Beckley.