Although the Seton Hall men’s basketball team’s time in Jacksonville, Fla. was cut short in a first-round loss to Wofford in the NCAA Tournament, Romaro Gill found himself back in the Sunshine State a few weeks later.
The Pirates’ 7-foot-2 center for the Pirates was the only Big East men’s athlete to be invited to take part in the 2019 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. The event took place from April 11 to 14 in Orlando, Fla. and featured hundreds of student-athletes from across the nation taking place in leadership development activities and discussions.
Gill, who hails from St. Thomas, Jamaica, worked his way to this opportunity not by chance. Academics have always been a large part of his life, and when the opportunity arose to take part in the forum, he knew it was one that he could not pass up.
“I applied, I wasn’t expecting to get nominated,” Gill said. “A few weeks later I got an email from the Big East and they told me that I was nominated and that’s how I got involved in it.”
Entrenched in the middle of the school year, Gill did not know what to expect from the conference. However, looking back, he sees that it was an experience that was nothing to have concerns about.
“Just going there, I didn’t know what to expect,” Gill said. “It was 300 students from various colleges. I was kind of nervous at the beginning, but getting there, it wasn’t that bad. It was a nice environment, positive energy, in all four days.”
Despite being surrounded by a large number of student-athletes from all different types of colleges, Gill was in the minority as a basketball player. As the only male representative from the Big East, Gill was honored to have that distinction and be able to represent his conference and sport on a greater scale.
“It means a lot to me knowing that I am the only male basketball player from the Big East that was selected to go,” Gill said. “It felt good because there it was a lot of football players, lacrosse players, and not necessarily a lot of basketball players. Just to be the only basketball player stands out and means a lot.
The conference spoke about a variety of issues and challenges facing leaders. Gill said he took away a lot from the conference, but the biggest thing he learned was leading by example with his team and his community.
“The main thing I learned down there, which I already knew before, but it makes more sense to me, as a leader, is leading by example,” Gill said. “It makes no sense to tell someone to do something and you yourself are not going to do it. It is always good to lead by example.”
The conference also featured two keynote speakers, one being Daron K. Roberts. The talk by Roberts stood out to Gill, as evident by number of tweets on Gill’s Twitter account referencing Roberts and his lessons.
“[Roberts] told us that every morning we should be intentional,” Gill said. “Our mornings are what set the tone of the day. If you start out with your morning great, your day is going to be too.”
Waking up every day and grinding in the world of Division I basketball is no easy task, but Gill hopes that with his newfound lessons learned from Roberts and the conference itself, he can apply them moving forward. Gill also understands that he is expected to be a leader on the team next season, and he is looking to bring back the lessons he learned in Florida to New Jersey.
“One thing they say, as a leader, is you’re going to need followers. Knowing that I’m going to be an older guy on the team next year, I’m going to try my best to be the best leader that I can be,” Gill said. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a perfect leader, but I’ll try and be the best that I can be for my team, be there to support the, to listen to them, if anyone is going through any problems. Just having that bond that will gel the team together will be good for us.”
Gill headlines a strong, returning frontcourt for the Pirates in 2019-20. Aside from being a key cog in this group and on the team moving forward, Gill is bringing back more than just basketball expertise from the conference. While there, Gill and the other athletes took part in a community service event for the One Love Foundation where they packaged shampoo, conditioner and other basic necessities for those less fortunate. The experience especially resonated with Gill and is something which he wants to bring back to the Seton Hall program.
“I brought it back and said that we can involve that here in our community, too,” Gill said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to do, just to help others."
Ultimately, Gill hopes that the experience he received in Orlando is something that his teammates and other members from the Big East will take part in the future.
“I would ask a lot of people to apply for it. It’s a wonderful experience,” Gill said. “They should get more people [from the Big East] involved into it.”
Gill brings back valuable lessons from NCAA Leadership Forum