Boston Warrior AAU Boy's Basketball: BW High School News: Boston Herald Hot Shot - Tyler Gibson makes a big impression

Boston Herald Hot Shot - Tyler Gibson makes a big impression

ROCKLAND — Walk around Rockland High and ask someone to play a word association game about boys basketball star Tyler Gibson and two words always come to the forefront: smile and presence.

Start with the smile. Rarely is the personable Gibson seen without a smile, one fully capable of lighting up the darkest of rooms. Even during running drills on New Year’s Eve morning, the senior flashed the pearly whites as he sprinted the floor with the passion of a freshman trying to impress a coach.

As for the presence, few teams leave with a smile on their face after dealing with the 6-foot-6 Gibson for 32 minutes. In a 52-43 victory over Wellesley in the finals of the Rockland Holiday Tournament, Gibson turned in an effort the Bulldogs have come to expect with 22 points, 20 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The numbers only tell part of the story.

“We like to play a tough man-to-man defense and it’s nice to know that Tyler is back there in case someone gets by a defender,” coach Fred Damon said. “In that Wellesley game, they scored 43 points and I bet at least 30 of them were from the outside. Tyler really gives us a presence on the court at all times.”

Playing for Rockland is something Gibson always envisioned. The experience has been what he hoped for.

“I love playing here, it’s like a family,” Gibson said. “Rockland has a great basketball tradition. You look around in the gym and you can see the banners on the wall showing the league titles and different championships. It’s a very special feeling to play here.”

It should then come as no surprise that Gibson set out to find a college which provides many of those same attributes. Once he visited UMass-Lowell, there was no need to prolong the recruiting process. He gave a verbal commitment to the River Hawks on Oct. 2 and signed his national letter of intent five weeks later.

“First of all, I liked the finance program they offered,” Gibson said. “When I met the team, they just seemed like one big family and that did it for me.”

And Gibson has never allowed the attention to go to his head. Assistant coach Nick Liquori maintains he is the same kid who first walked through the gym doors three years ago as an unassuming freshman.

“He’s just a great kid,” Liquori said. “I was fortunate enough to coach him as a freshman and he’s never changed. He’s beloved in the community, everyone in the school loves him. I like to refer to Tyler as a giant, but a gentle giant.”