Gipson's Actions Speaking Louder Than Words
A 6-foot-7 forward from Cedar Hill, Texas, Gipson has quieted down while stepping up. He's doing a little less talking and a lot more playing.
"Last year I asked him to be very vocal, but I think that took a toll on him as the season went on," said K-State men's basketball head coach Bruce Weber, "and maybe even went a little overboard and got a little frustrated, so this year, I told him to just lead by example."
And, from this season's first game to yesterday's 88-79 win over Purdue, leading by example is exactly what Gipson is doing.
In three of the Wildcats' four games this season, Gipson has scored in double figures, and he has led K-State in scoring three times. He scored 17 points in the Wildcats' season-opening win over Southern Utah, and followed that with a 21-point performance in K-State's 83-73 win over UMKC. Though the Wildcats shot poorly and lost, 69-60, to Long Beach State last Friday, Gipson never gave up, and his 13 points were a team-high.
Then, in yesterday's game, though Gipson got in foul trouble early and sat out majority of the first half; but when he was on the court, he was a force to be reckoned with. Scoring a total of nine points and when Purdue began to rally from a 20-point deficit, Gipson showed poise and power by putting away buckets for the Wildcats when his team needed them most.
Not always focused on saying the right things and telling his team what to do, Gipson is now focused on his game and letting his actions do the talking.
"I think it's more natural," Gipson explained about his leadership style. "This year, I'm trying to lead by example and do the right things that will lead in a positive way. I'm not getting on them as bad as I did last year. I just feel like I didn't get to them the right way like I am doing this year. So now, when I do talk, I think they're in tuned with what I'm saying."
With yesterday's effort, Gipson ranks 32nd on K-State's all-time scoring chart with 932 points, and needs just 68 points to become the 26th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier. He ranks fifth in Wildcat history with 223 offensive rebounds and eighth with 329 defensive rebounds. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Gipson got even more serious about the game and about his team and lost nearly 30 pounds - a feat that makes him more agile on his feet.
In much better shape, Gipson has played in 103 games and has 68 career starts.
With all that experience, Gipson said he feels as though he has grown immensely both on and off the court in his time leading up to his fourth and final season with the Wildcats.
"I think I've grown in all aspects of my game on and off the court," said Gipson. "I've definitely gotten more mature and I've grown as a leader; you have to act a certain way around these guys. Also, I feel like my low post scoring has gotten a lot better. I've improved with my right hand and my rebounding, and that all happened with losing weight. Since I did that, I feel like there are a lot of things that I've improved."
Game in and game out Gipson's presence as a team leader is felt on the court.
Before heading to Maui, Gipson said he was excited to have the opportunity to grow with his team during the trip.
On the tournament, Gipson said, "I feel like we're all on the same page: we want to win this tournament. That's point blank, but if we just don't, we're going to learn from it. We're going to learn from it if we do lose, but that's not our point of emphasis; our point of emphasis is that we want to win."
On the right path to win the Maui Invitational, yesterday's victory over Purdue put K-State in the tournament's winner's bracket. The Wildcats' next game will be against No. 2 Arizona (4-0, 0-0 Pacific-12) this afternoon at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be aired nationally on ESPN.
For a full recap of yesterday afternoon's game, click here.