Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
At 6-9 and built rock solid, Southeastern High’s Percy Gibson has lived up to the nickname given to him by his coach.
“When I got the job last year I called him the Big Equalizer,” Jungaleers’ coach George Ward said of Gibson, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week. “When you have a guy that big at 6-feet-9 inches tall that can score around the basket we should always be in the game.”
Gibson’s inside dominance was on display during the “Big D” PSL tournament semifinals where his 23 points and 15 rebounds led Southeastern past King 67-62 in overtime, enabling the Jungaleers to win the East Division and advance to the finals against West champion Cody.
In the PSL title game, Gibson was held scoreless in the first half but busted out for five consecutive points in the third quarter as Southeastern came back to win 52-50, earning its first PSL boys’ basketball title since 1956.
“Percy is a very quick learner and really has improved tremendously in the last year and half,” Ward said. “He can finish with either hand around the basket and he wants the ball more now.
His upside is tremendous. I don’t know of an inside presence in the city or state that can score better than he can with his back to the basket.”
Gibson agrees with his coach. He’s confident that his best days as a player are in front of him.
“I’m a lot more dominant than last year,” he said. “I want to attack the basket and I want to get every rebound. At some point, you realize how quickly the season goes and how fast your high school career is over, so you have to make every minute of every game count.”
With averages of 17.6 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks a game, Gibson is the enforcer in a Jungaleers’ 1-2 punch that includes Mr. Basketball candidate Brandan Kearney, a 6-6 guard and a previous PSLer of the Week who is headed to Michigan State in the fall.
“He and Brandan have played together since they were 9 or 10 years old and they walked in the door at Southeastern together,” Ward said. “Both of them were varsity players as freshmen. Percy started a few games as a sophomore but he’s been a fixture since his junior year.”
Gibson has a 3.4 grade point average and has accepted a scholarship to play collegiately at Dayton. He plans to major in architectural design. He joined Kearney in making his college choice known prior to the season in order to lessen the distractions.
“Committing early definitely helped me stay focused,” Gibson said. “The only calls I’ve gotten this season were from my (Dayton) coaches and they called just to tell me to keep my head up and things like that.”
After three years of knocking on the door of a championship, Southeastern entered this season targeted as the PSL’s No. 1 team. “That just makes you work harder because you know everybody wants to beat you,” Gibson said.
“My goals for this season were to help the team be as a good as we could be and to win the city and state championships. I like the fact that we’re playing as a unit. We all keep our composure and we all have a winning mentality. That’s helped us win a lot of close games. Now that we’ve won the city, it just fuels our fire even more to win the state.”