Former Wake Forest signee Jaylon Gibson picks NC State
Forward Jaylon Gibson from Grace Christian School in Apex, N.C., signed with Wake Forest last fall, but a coaching change in Winston-Salem led him to ask for his release from his letter of intent.
It was not long before a lengthy list of colleges were after him. Off the top of his head, he could remember Cincinnati, Georgia, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Providence, Syracuse and Xavier getting in touch. Then came the news that would alter his fate: five-star forward and NC State signee Josh Hall from Moravian Prep in Hickory, N.C., said he was staying in the NBA Draft.
Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts and assistant James Johnson reached out to Grace Christian head coach DeShannon Morris, who passed the news along to Gibson. Before long, Gibson was talking with Johnson.
“Once I got my official release from Wake Forest, I kind of looked at schools that I wanted to attend,” Gibson noted. “NC State was not that far from me. Seeing that Josh Hall said he was sticking to the draft, I just saw the opportunity. I reached out to the coaches, and they were happy to have me.”
Gibson knew that he wanted to stay in the ACC and was also looking at Miami and Syracuse. NC State, though, had an edge on them.
“It was kind of a no-brainer to me because it was close to home,” Gibson explained.
The 6-foot-10, 195-pounder averaged 16.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game this past season for Grace Christian while shooting 63.8 percent from the field. Grace Christian went 21-12.
“Overall, the season was great,” Gibson said. “Just being a part of that school, that environment, the coaching, it really impacted me as a person and made me a better man.”
Gibson noted that NC State recruited him as a power forward.
“They are a getting a hard worker, a relentless worker,” he said. “I love doing the dirty work — rebounding, blocking shots, just being a high-activity guy doing whatever I can do to contribute to get a win.”
Gibson has some familiarity with the rest of his NC State recruiting class. He noted that forward Nick Farrar from Apex Friendship High lives nearby, and he has played in an all-star game before with guard Cam Hayes from Greensboro (N.C.) Day School. He also went up against center Ebenezer Dowuona on the traveling circuit.
He knows Farrar and Hayes best, but he did not give them the news in advance.
“I wanted to keep it a secret, kind of shock the world,” Gibson said.