SE: Gipson Makes Early Impact with Wildcats

Thomas Gipson

Nov. 22, 2011


By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra

He’s but 18 years of age, but without question in a man’s body.

At 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, Thomas Gipson has been turning heads and banging bodies through his first two games as a Kansas State Wildcat.

“He’s a beast. I’m scared for the Big 12 when he becomes a senior,” said K-State teammate Jamar Samuels, who goes against Gipson in practice. “He’s a grown man out there, but guys that size normally don’t have those moves.”

Coach Frank Martin added of his wide-body, “He’s not scared of throwing that big body around. He lays the wood on you and you know that you got hit. He plays with the same aggression as Luis Colon, but has an understanding of how to score a little bit like Curtis Kelly.”

Through two starts entering tonight’s game at 7 against Maryland-Eastern Shore in Bramlage Coliseum, Gipson is averaging 10.5 points on 47 percent shooting and controlling 3.5 rebounds per game. To that board figure Martin warns, “To play for us, he’s going to have to rebound better.”

Gipson came to K-State from Cedar Hill, Texas, where he was ranked in the top-35 power-forwards in the nation and one of the top 150 players overall.

He helped his Longhorn team to a 33-4 record last year when he averaged 14 points and was in twin figures in 32 of those 37 games.

But now he’s entered the big time in college basketball.

“It’s hard to expect Thomas to deliver in crunch time without making a mistake because he has never done it before,” said Martin. “The game is real fast for him right now. He’s trying to get it to slow down and figure out where he belongs.”

But already, Gipson is drawing raves from opposing coaches. After the K-State freshman scored 19 points and gathered seven rebounds in a 74-61 victory over Loyola Chicago, Ramblers coach Porter Moser said, “He is very physical, he has that big torso and he knows how to use it. He has soft hands and a soft touch. I think he is going to be a very good player for them and he knows how to get angles.”

Also impressed is K-State’s 6-11, 250-pound Jordan Henriquez, who goes one-on-one with Gipson on a daily basis.

“He competes every day. He makes me better, and I also challenge him,” said Henriquez. “He has good size, which helps me as a defender. My size against him helps him as well, which is why we compete against each other a lot in practice.

“He came in with his confidence way up and he has continued to want to progress,” said Henriquez. “He wants to get better one day at a time. He is always taking steps forward, and now that the lights are on him and he is playing in front of a lot of people, he is playing with even more confidence. As long as he continues that, we will be good.”

After tonight, K-State will take a break before returning to action against George Washington on Dec. 1 in Bramlage Coliseum.

“Normally we take that break at Christmas time and play games boom, boom, boom at this point of the year,” Martin said. “This just sort of happened this year because of our trip to Hawaii (Dec. 22, 23, 25). By the time we get back from that there will only be time to play one game (Howard on Dec. 31) before opening Big 12 play.”

That opener, incidentally, will be at Kansas on Jan. 4.

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