A product of West High School, this talented athlete became a three-time All-Ohio and All-Mid American cager at Bowling Green University. As a sophomore he scored 458 points, then topped that the following season (1952-53) with 555 points. The latter season the Falcons earned a National Invitational Tournament bid and Gerber a spot on the NIT All-Tournament team with a 39 points effort against Western Kentucky. Gerber still holds the BG three-year scoring record, posting a 19.4 average, and was the fifth all-time high scorer in the school's history. His coach at BG, Harold Anderson, paid him the highest compliments when he said, "I've had a lot of great players - including Chuck Share, Don and Mac Otten and Bob Gerber - but Jim was the best of them all."