Thursday, January 3, 2013
Gibbs Commits to Catholic U
Gibbs is a 5-foot-10 wing player who does all of the little things well, and can also hit clutch shots. She helped lead the BG girls to a state title in 2012, and will now be playing for Catholic which is one of the top D-III teams in the country.
"Their success is well deserved as I know they have been working hard" Gibbs told the NH Notebook. "They will be graduating seven seniors this year, but I am sure Catholic will continue to be successful in the next couple of years now knowing how it feels to have such a high ranking. Graduating that many seniors also creates a ton of opportunity for incoming freshmen like myself. I am hoping to be able to make an impact on the team immediately, and to contribute to their continued success. Some of the girls they are losing play the same position that I play on the court, leaving that spot on the team up for grabs. I have met the team and seen them practice, and I can see myself fitting in very well with them on and off the court."
Being a member of the team at Catholic U seems to be a great fit for Gibbs.
"I decided to check out the school this fall after Coach Donohue reached out to me over the summer" explained Gibbs. "What I didn’t know then was that they had actually been following me a good part of the spring and summer, and contacted me after the USJN Nationals in DC. He let me know right from the start that they weren’t looking to recruit 30 kids for each position – their way was to research, identify and recruit those players that they felt could help them. Also, the basketball program has been very successful and I am sure will continue to be in the future. Coach Donohue is a great coach and I loved how honest he was with me about his ideas of how I can be an impact player on the team. I got a chance to spend almost my entire visit with the three current freshman and they were very friendly and fun to get to know. I am excited to be on the same team as those girls next year."
There were also other factors besides basketball which played a part in Gibbs' decision.
"Catholic University is an excellent school in an excellent location (Washington, DC)" said Gibbs. "After doing some research on the school I was very excited to visit. I was looking at studying business and their program is excellent, not to mention the school is located in the capital which means there will be an array of job and internship opportunities in both the public and private sector. After my first overnight visit there I knew I liked the school a lot. The campus was absolutely beautiful. This was the last of my five official visits and it was pretty much down to WPI and Catholic (I also visited Roger Williams, Brandeis and Stevens Institute of Technology). My goal was to make my decision before the start of my senior season so I could concentrate on bringing another championship to Bishop Guertin. Both schools are excellent academically and I liked both coaches and teams a lot. A big factor in my decision was distance. I had made the decision a while ago that I wanted to stay in New England, and Catholic being 8 hours away by car was hard for me to wrap my mind around. In the end, I knew that Catholic presented the best opportunity for me academically and athletically and was overall the best fit for me. I know that the distance will be hard for me at first but I know I will be able to adapt. Plus it’s only a little over an hour away by plane!"
Catholic University is located in Washington, DC. Such a big city might be intimidating for some students, especially those coming from New Hampshire. But Gibbs sees it as a positive.
"The fact that Catholic is located in DC is simply a bonus" Gibbs continued. "I have been more drawn to a college in an urban setting, and Catholic is definitely that and more! The Metro stops right at the campus which makes getting around the city extremely easy. The opportunity for internships and jobs in the area is outstanding and I plan on using that to my advantage. Everyone I have talked to about the location has raved about how wonderful a city DC is and I cannot wait to experience it for myself. My family actually vacationed there for a few days this summer after the USJN’s, and now I will be living there next year! I am very excited for next year, it is going to be the experience of a lifetime!"
Gibbs has played on the AAU circuit for the NE Crusaders, a program which has been instrumental in her development on the court.
"I started playing for the Crusaders in 7th grade and was on a team before that that had previously gone to Nationals and placed fifth and third" said Gibbs. "Growing up a Crusader was a great experience because I had the opportunity to learn from many talented coaches and also to learn from older girls that were scholarship players. We often practiced with the older teams, and those girls were great role models. I had the opportunity to play in countless exposure tournaments too. In the last two years specifically, I was encouraged to become a leader on my team both vocally and in my game which was something I was not used to. Growing up I always played in the shadows of excellent players, but for the first time I had to really step up and make things happen for my team. It was a great experience and I feel that it has made me a more complete player."
It is no accident that Gibbs is a player with great knowledge of the game and instincts on the court. Her father Kevin Gibbs is the head coach of the NHTI women's basketball team. He also coached Madison during her first two years at BG.
"My dad started coaching me the very first year I played back in second grade, and did up until sophomore year" said Gibbs. "He taught me the game and I am very thankful I had him all those years to push me. Having him as a coach never interfered with our father-daughter relationship, we always managed to keep basketball and other things separate. However, I think that it is good that he stopped coaching me when he did because I have had the opportunity to experience different coaches and different coaching styles. It gets hard having the same coach for so many years because after a while you hear the same things repeated. Do not get me wrong though, he was a great coach, and I know I owe my base of basketball skills and knowledge to him."
There have also been other coaches over the years who have helped Gibbs get to where she is today.
"I have also been blessed to play for two great Crusader coaches (Anne Alosa, coach at Salem High), and Kara Leary, who started the Crusader program" Gibbs replied. "Between what I have learned from these coaches, as well as having Scott Hazelton as my high school coach at BG, I have been blessed with a huge amount of basketball training. I’ve been able to take away so many things from each coach!"
Gibbs' primary coach during the 2012 AAU season was Alosa, and she has nothing but good things to say about her.
"Maddie was truly a pleasure to coach this past summer" said Coach Alosa. "The intangibles she possesses as a player make her so special. From the early spring to the end of the summer, Maddie developed her game as being a strong scoring threat and all around player. She is very versatile, as she can play the perimeter and bang inside for rebounds. Her strongest characteristics are her floor sense and her leadership...which set her apart this past summer from others in the recruiting arena. At the next level, I see Maddie developing into a stronger and even more confident player. I truly do not think we have seen the best from her yet! I am very excited to become a loyal Catholic Cardinal fan now!"
Now that she has made the decision to commit to Catholic U, Gibbs can now focus on helping the BG girls defend their D-I state championship. It also means she can enjoy playing one last year with teammates Meghan Green and Nicole Hayner, who she has played alongside all growing up.
"Winning the State Championship last year was such a fun experience" Gibbs concluded. "This year we are practically the same team, and have the opportunity to do it again. We have already hit a few bumps in the road this year, but knowing our team we will take that and learn from it. Keeping our mentality that we are a team and have to play together will be an important factor in our success because although we have some outstanding individual talent on our team, it will always be a team sport. Playing with such a great team in high school has definitely prepared me for playing in college. I am surrounded by a great group of girls that truly love the sport and are always pushing each other. The atmosphere at college next year will be very similar. Catholic won their conference last year and made it to the NCAA tournament, just as we won the State title. The level of dedication that both programs possess is similar and will make for any easy transition."