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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

For Tia Gibbs...the wait is over



She was the 2008 Miss Kentucky Basketball. She helped lead the Louisville Butler Bearettes to the State Championship that year. She may have been the most talented girls high school basketball player to come out of Butler since Adrienne Johnson. She accepted the offer to play her college ball under Melanie Balcomb at prestigious Vanderbilt University. Some Cardinal fans wondered at the time how she got away from Jeff Walz and the Lady Cards.

The wondering and waiting is over. Gibbs is back at UofL and eager and ready to take the court and compete at guard for Louisville.

Transferring back home after an up and down season in Nashville and waiting out the mandatory transfer year, she'll have three years of elgibility after sitting out the 2009-10 season. At Vandy, she was one of two freshmen that joined a Commodore team full of experienced guards. Playing time was not easy to find for Gibbs...but she still managed to produce double figure scoring five times...including 12 points against Auburn in the SEC Championships. She produced 12 points against Pat Summitt's Lady Vols. If you've seen Vandy...you know of Coach Balcomb's preference for Louisville hoopsters (Meredith Marsh, Amber Norton and Jenni Benningfield). At 5'9"...Gibbs had talent but it wasn't being used properly.

So...there were the times mired deep on the bench for the Commodores. Gibbs came back to the Ville...and watched helplessly as an inexperienced and overmatched Louisville backcourt got schooled and picked upon by talented and deep BIG EAST opponents. Watched the Kentucky team as they swamped Louisville with defensive intensity and steals galore. Her time watching from the sidelines served her well, though...as she learned just exactly what was needed (and what was missing) from the Lady Cards guards.

She'll compete against 7-8 other hopefuls to try and win a starting role for the 2010-11 season. Much more importantly, though...she'll add depth and experience to a back court that had very little last season. Gibbs has proven she is the kind of hoopster that can contribue as a role player off the bench, but has to be considered as one of the early leading contenders to start in the backcourt.

While in high school, Gibbs was one of the top three players in the Jefferson County area...along with fellow Cardinal Monique Reid (Fern Creek) and Ceira Ricketts (Fairdale/Arkansas). She played varisty hoops for five years at Butler....scoring 2790 points....#1 in Bearette history. She was seleced 6th Region Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008...Gibbs also played for the AAU's Louisville Sting.

The long overdue wait for Gibbs to be a Cardinal is almost over. Sometimes, the shortest path isn't taken, the road chosen can be long and winding and setbacks happen. For Tia Gibbs, though...the travel has ended..she's reached base camp and the sun is shining once again.

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