Jacob Gibson, former Harding guard and 2016 alumnus, is entering his second year with the Liga Nationala, a professional basketball league in Romania.
Gibson made a name for himself in the Rhodes-Reaves Field House, posting the second highest number of 3-pointers in Harding history and being named the 2016 Great American Conference Player of the Year.
Gibson averaged 17.3 points with 5.1 rebounds his senior year, making the aforementioned Player of the Year for the GAC. He knew his basketball career would continue post-Harding. He just did not think it would last this long.
“I’m glad I’m still playing,” Gibson said. “I didn’t think I’d still be in the league after five years.”
Gibson began his professional career playing for the Ringwood Hawks in Australia as a rookie. His three years provided, not only a second chance at a basketball career, but also a second community,similar to what Harding offered him during his time in Searcy.
“[Ringwood] is basically my second home,” Gibson said. “I feel like I’ve got people that are almost like family down there.”
As Gibson is beginning his second season in Romania, he discussed his experiences with Billy Morgan, Harding’s “voice of the Bison’s,” on a Zoom call that is available on Harding Sports’ Facebook page.
“Moving to Romania was definitely challenging last year, as far as off the court — just trying to keep pushing and keep playing,” Gibson said in the interview.
Gibson compared playing professionally to playing collegiately, saying the style of play is more intense and serious on that level. However, he said he thought his Romanian team was more similar to Harding than his Australian team.
“I’d say my team in Romania this year equated more to the style we played at Harding,” Gibson said. “I’ve learned a lot about the game. It’s been good to have both experiences, and I think [it has] helped me make myself a more well-rounded basketball player.”
Dawson Yates, assistant women’s basketball coach and Gibson’s former roommate, said Gibson had talent that many others did not.
“I know I’m a little biased because he was my roommate and the best man at my wedding, but Jacob was the man,” Yates said. “He was committed. He had a switch to him come game time that very few guys have.”
It wasn’t just his teammates and coaches who enjoyed watching him play. Many members of the Harding community knew the name Jacob Gibson and watched him play.
“I didn’t talk to him much, but seeing him on the court was always special,” alumnus David Savage, who was the head of the Rhodes Rowdies during Gibson’s time, said. “It’s not often that you see a talent like Gibby’s in person. He always came in clutch when we needed it.”
Gibson also said people like Jeff Morgan, Harding athletic director, and Ray Lynn Woods, men’s basketball assistant, have helped him become the player and teammate that he is.
“They helped me so much,” Gibson said. “There’s a lot of players that can’t make it — not because they’re not a great player, they have the talent — but they don’t know how to be a great teammate … that’s part of winning a championship.”