Tyler Gibbs hoping to be a Lope

There were some very lean years early on for Tyler Gibbs at Shadow Ridge High School. Gibbs is a senior, and the starting point guard.

The Stallions are wrapping up their regular season on Friday night, and they’re hoping to continue on into the playoffs with Gibbs at the helm on point.

In his first three years in Surprise, Ariz., Gibbs suffered through three consecutive losing seasons, including a 2-24 sophomore season.

“That was probably the worst we’ve been through,” Gibbs said.

However, the skies are much clearer for Shadow Ridge, as second-year head coach John Braden has them on the bounce back.

Gibbs attributes the program’s turnaround to plain old “hard work.”

“With the change in coaches, he [Coach Braden] had good game plans too, so that helped us a lot,” Gibbs said. “We definitely put our name out there this year, [and] it just came from hard work and just going on the floor handling business.”

Gibbs says he learned a lot in his two years under Coach Braden, namely the right way to play defense.

“Sometimes everyone’s like ‘He’s hard on you,’ but I kind of like it so I can get better in the higher level,” Gibbs said. “He gets us ready for every game, regardless if it’s a good team or just an okay team, he’s a good coach.”

Braden knows losing a young man like Gibbs and his on and off the court leadership will be tough, because he’s had such a positive impact on his teammates.

“As a senior, it’s pretty much a given, everyone knows, Tyler’s one of the leaders on our team and one of the leaders on our campus,” Braden said. “He’s a pleasure to have around, he’s a pleasure to have in class, he’s just a good kid all around.”

Gibbs wants to continue his basketball career at the college level, and he has his eyes squarely set on Grand Canyon University, and from what Gibbs told me, the Lopes seem to be interested in him as well.

Gibbs recently took a visit to Grand Canyon to see the campus, GCU Arena and all. He said it was very enlightening.

“I just wanted to see what the school is about and get that college experience, because we really only have four months left before we’re out,” Gibbs said.

Pima Community College and Eastern New Mexico have also shown interest in Gibbs.

While he’s honored that those schools are interested in him, Gibbs’ focus remains on hopefully going to Grand Canyon and playing for head coach Russ Pennell.

“Coach Pennell, he’s a good coach, I know he has a good defensive system, and they have good players there also,” Gibbs said. “I just want to be part of a team where communication on the floor is better than everyone having their own individual game.”

Gibbs has no problems starting at the bottom and working his way to the top, whether it’s with the Lopes or with another team.

“When I get my chance to go up there, I’m gonna bring the same leadership here up there to college.”