First and Goals
UTSA Guard takes on Mentoring Role as the Only Returning Starter
There was a time when Devin Gibson knew nothing about UTSA.
That all changed when Gibson started seeing UTSA men’s coaches at his Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) games during the summer leading into his senior year at Cypress Falls High School in Houston.
It was clear the coaches had taken an interest in the guard with a sharp shooting touch and smooth ball-handling skills. Once the parties met, Gibson, in turn, took an interest in UTSA. Not only did he find a place to play college basketball and get an education, but he also found a home.
“Everyone made me feel comfortable when I came here for my visit,” Gibson said. “I thought the campus was nice and I had a chance to meet some of the head people around the school. You don’t get to do that on a lot of recruiting trips. I was impressed they took time out to meet with me.”
And in his time at the school, he’s happy with how much it has grown.
“When I first came here I remember talking to [Athletics Director] Lynn Hickey,” he said. “She told me this was going to get done and that was going to get done. Now, we have a football team and the recreational center. Everything has grown.”
During the past three years the 6-foot guard has also grown on the basketball court with his aggressive defense and offensive skills that have produced 1,104 points. Gibson was one of the Roadrunners’ most consistent players during their recent 19–11 campaign, averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds with 34 assists and 57 steals.
Gibson has been equally impressive in the classroom with a 3.22 GPA. Recently, he was named Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year and received honorable mention on the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team.
That ability to shine in both areas was a major attraction for Head Coach Brooks Thompson and his staff.
“We saw great potential in Devin,” Thompson said. “He was definitely the type of player we wanted in our program because of his ability and character. He is a competitor. He loves to win and loves to work at improving his game.”
Although Gibson was a standout in high school, it took a while for him to attract a great deal of college attention.
Rice University showed an early interest, and Gibson was strongly considering giving the Owls his verbal commitment.
Then Rice backed off on its recruiting. But after an impressive showing during the AAU season, college coaches started taking notice, especially UTSA and other schools in the Southland Conference.
The Roadrunners might not have had the tradition of programs such as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State, but for Gibson there were more important attractions.
“I remembered UTSA was really the first school that showed a lot of interest in me,” said Gibson, who is majoring in infrastructure assurance and security with a minor in finance. “Coach Thompson was in his second year and I could tell he was going to rebuild the program. Being part of that meant a lot."
Gibson set the tone by earning Southland Conference Freshman of the Year honors while averaging 14.1 points with a 4.1 rebound average, 142 assists and 93 steals.
His sophomore campaign was also impressive as he averaged 12.3 points. Among the lists of highlights in non-conference play was a 13-point showing with six rebounds and five steals in a 78–75 win over Rice. However, the most rewarding part of the season came during the Southland Conference Tournament.
UTSA snapped a nine-game losing streak to Sam Houston with an 83–74 win in the opener and followed with a 57–55 victory over Nicholls State, before losing to Stephen F. Austin, 68–57, for the championship.
Last season the Roadrunners lost 78–66 to A&M–Corpus Christi in the first round. However, Gibson was still encouraged.
“We have gotten better every year,” Gibson said. “A lot of that has to do with Coach Thompson. He works with us and knows how to handle certain situations. He played in college and the NBA. I think that is one of his strengths, because he knows how to relate to players. Players make coaches, but coaches develop players.”
Next year, instead of being surrounded by experienced teammates, Gibson will share the court with several new players who are filling the roles vacated by graduating seniors. As the only returning starter, Gibson is taking more of a mentoring role.
“Now it’s my turn to lead. I have to come out of my shell and get us to where we have to go and make sure everybody is learning quickly,” he said.
“We have to be good to go when the season starts. I want a [conference championship] ring and then win a game in the NCAA Tournament. I have one more year to do it."