Jonathan Gilling and sisters trekked from Denmark to 'take over the West Coast'
SAN FRANCISCO – Family legacies in college athletics are nothing new. In the Pac-12 rhere’s the Alfords at UCLA and Lotuleleis who play Utah football, among many others.
Four siblings coming from Denmark to play basketball in America, however? Not quite as common.
But that’s the Gilling family in a nutshell. Sofie was the first one to trek out here, enlisting her services at Seminole State College of Florida. Next came Jonathan, Arizona State's long-distance specialist who is one pace to finish in the top 5 in school history for career three-pointers made. He also has two younger sisters – Mathilde and Caroline, who are playing at Washington and Cal State Northridge, respectively.
“We’re here to take over the West Coast,” Jonathan quipped.
While his parents never played basketball, Jonathan and his sisters fell in love with the game as kids. Rungsted Kyst, his hometown, is a basketball-crazed city. Once Sofie started playing, the rest of the dominoes fell, and Jonathan knew that eventually, he’d hope his career would take him stateside.
“It was a chain reaction,” Gilling said. “I always wanted to go to America … I’ve always heard there were good facilities, good coaching and the good experiences of living in another country.”
While they are close in age, Jonathan didn’t play against his sisters that much because, as he jokingly put it, he “didn’t really want to give too many elbows.”
With Jonathan and his younger sisters still in America, their parents make it out to the states at least once for Christmas every year. When ma and pa are back home, the time difference is such that they’ll have to wake up in the middle of the night to catch one of the Gillings in action.
“They stay up each night to watch us play,” Gilling said. “If a game is at 4 a.m., they wake up, watch the game and go to work.”