Where Are They Now: Kyle Gibson

May 31, 2018

It’s not very often that California natives come to play basketball at Louisiana Tech.

There have been only seven players in the history of Bulldog basketball to make that long journey from the west coast. One of them was Kyle Gibson.

Kyle grew up in the sprawling, populous city of Los Angeles, but came to the small, rolling hills city of Ruston where he spent four years developing into one of the greatest scorers in program history.

After a tremendous four-year basketball career at LA Tech from 2006-10, he has continued playing professionally overseas in places like Italy, Belgium and France. The current part of the world he is now is Podgorica, Montenegro.

Part I – Los Angeles

Growing up in the hustle and bustle of the second largest city in the United States can be a challenge. For Kyle though, he considered it as a great experience that was centered mainly around sports.

“I felt like from a child to a young adult, growing up in a big city like Los Angeles exposed me to real life at a young age that prepared me for when I went away for college.

“Growing up, sports were heavy in my household. My older brother and I competed a lot. Also, our father being our high school basketball coach kept us focused and gave us a work ethic early on that helped us become professionals and also helped us away from the court being discipline.”

At first, the sport that Kyle had more of a passion for was football (he even won a national title as a nine-year old). But by the time he was a sophomore at Dorsey High School, basketball overtook football as his primary love.

He helped lead the Dons to three straight City League titles, averaging 23 points per game his senior season.

As much as his father Arthur and the rest of his family supported Kyle, he wanted to return the favor by getting a college basketball scholarship.

 

 

“College was always in my plans. As was getting a scholarship because it would help my family to not worry about paying for my schooling. I owed it to them and myself to make that dream a reality for all they have done for me.”

Part II – Ruston

There are 24 Division I college basketball programs in California, the most of any state. One of those 24 that was highly interested in signing the 6-foot-4 shooting guard was USC where former Bulldog Tim Floyd was the head coach.

“I met coach Floyd at his first annual USC basketball camp where I played well. He approached me asking if I could sign for the upcoming season, but I was unable to because I hurt my shoulder.”

The following year, the two kept in contact. Tim brought up LA Tech to Kyle and it just so happened that a fellow friend, Michael Wilds, was playing for the Bulldogs at the time.

Michael co-signed for Kyle as well. A visit from an assistant coach to watch him play in an open gym, then a visit to Ruston, then the rest is as they say history.

One of his fondest memories would come early on during his freshman year on Dec. 6, 2006 when LA Tech hosted Bobby Knight and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

“Growing up, I wanted to play for him. He was a hall of fame coach who was demanding and would challenge his players. I felt that would have been a perfect coach for me to thrive under. I was able to have a decent game against them.”

Kyle led the ‘Dogs in scoring with 14 points in what was a near-upset win in front of over 7,000 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

That performance would be a glimpse into what Kyle was capable of on the hardwood. After averaging 4.7 points per game as a freshman, he then averaged 17 points per contest over the next three seasons.

He ending up totaling 1,677 career points which ranks as the 10th most in program history. A good bit of that damage came from beyond the arc where he hit 271 career triples (fourth most in school history).

Kyle was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection, two-time NABC All-District, three-time All-Louisiana and was a member of the 2009-10 WAC All-Defensive Team. And on May 22, 2010, he received his college diploma with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

“My time at Tech progressively got better as the days, months and years went on. It was a culture shock coming from Los Angeles to Ruston, but the teammates and staff helped me with whatever I needed. Tech being in a small city allowed me to focus on hoops and school.

“Unfortunately at the beginning, it was tough times on the court but I knew if I stuck around, I was going to bring a winning culture and attitude. I was determined to leave my mark and change the perception of the basketball program.”

That mark was certainly left his senior year in 2009-10 where he, along with guys like Olu Ashaolu, Magnum Rolle, Jamel Guyton and David Jackson, led the Bulldogs to a 24-win season, the most victories in the previous 25 years.

The Bulldogs ended up receiving votes in the AP Top 25 poll, thanks in large part to victories over TCU, Houston, Murray State as well as a 22-point beat down of WAC preseason favorite Utah State.

Part III – Montenegro

For two years, Kyle played professionally for the Canton Charge in Ohio in what is now known as the NBA G League. He then decided in 2013 to go play overseas with the opportunity to earn a better living and see the world at the same time.

“I kept up slightly with overseas basketball because of my brother playing in Germany so I had an idea of what to look for when it came time for me to make the transition. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

With the experience of going from Los Angeles to Ruston, Kyle was a little bit more prepared than others in going to a completely different country.

And he says he has enjoyed it to the fullest. He played two years in Italy, followed by a year in Belgium where he helped his squad win the Belgium League Championship. He followed that up playing one year in France.

“Most players like signing back to the same team or staying in the same country, but I don’t mind the new city, country, team and meeting new people. The unknown is exciting.

“The passion the fans have for basketball is unreal and can get a little dangerous. I’ve witnessed fans run on the court, lighters and coins being thrown on the floor, flairs and smoke bombs being lit in the arenas. It’s really different. OF course, the more you win the better the experience as well and I’ve been able to build a name for myself for my professionalism and game play.”

This past season, he moved to the country of Montenegro in southeastern Europe to play for Buducnost in the capital city of Podgorica.

“The city has a lot of construction going on. It is becoming more modern because it is still recovering from the Yugoslavian war. The people are nice and very passionate about everything, never seen anything like it.”

The 4,500 fans inside the Moraca Center were especially passionate in mid-April when for the first time ever in the regional league history, Buducnost celebrated by winning the ABA League Championship with a comeback victory in the final minutes.

When Kyle is not winning championships or eating what he deems as the best local food in the area called moussaka (an eggplant or potato-based dish including ground meat), he is off exploring other parts of the world much like he did when he left LA for the other LA.

“While playing in Italy and France, I would get on the train a lot to check out different cities and things I’ve read about in history class. Days off, I also try new restaurants that are recommended to me and traditional food in whichever country I am in.

“The city of Ruston certainly taught me to slow down. With it being a small town, it allowed me to focus and figure out who I was and wanted to be as a person. I grew up in the big-city lifestyle and went through a different, more controlled lifestyle in Ruston that has helped me to this very day of managing my day and time while overseas.”

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