Player Spotlight – Jaylon Gibson
Raleigh, North Carolina
What has helped you develop the leadership mindset you have today?
I developed my leadership mindset after being put in a situation where there was no team leader other than the coach. All athletes know that the coach cannot be the only one leading. An on-court leader is a necessity. My presence on the court qualified me for that position. At first I shied away from it because of the truth “with great power comes great responsibility.” Later I realized that I had to lead. My energy on the court had an impact on my development and my teammates’ development as well.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped you become a better athlete/player?
Becoming a better leader has helped me strive for myself and for others around me and has made me a better player. I hold my teammates to a high standard and expect them to give maximum effort on defense and to dive for loose balls whether tired or not, so if I’m asking that much from them then I can’t be a hypocrite and not give my all too. In practices, as we drill by doing defensive slides, I have to work as hard as I can whether I enjoy this exercise or not. I have to lead by example so others will respect me as a player and as a leader.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped your team?
My leadership on the court has helped my teammates because I bring energy to the game and when we make mistakes I am understanding and encouraging. Everybody makes mistakes. We have to move past them and focus on the next play.
Was there a moment where you recall “turning the corner” and realizing you had to take the next step as a leader?
Coming from a large public school to a small private school after making the decision to reclass after my junior year, I realized that I couldn’t transition like a normal kid could. I am not normal (I am 6’11”) and draw attention to myself because of my height. People look up to me literally and coming from a school of nearly 4,000 to a school with a high school of 250, I make a big impact as I walk down the one hallway. I do play basketball and everybody seems to know me or know of me here. But on the court, the kids who watch me in the hall need to see me being positive even when I’m being double-teamed or when the refs make a questionable call.
What do you different now that you may not have done in the past as a leader?
Now I think more about the effect my actions have on others because I know that what I do on and off the court affects my team directly and indirectly. When I see my teammates not focusing or getting prepared to play, during practice or before a game, I take the initiative to speak up and remind them of the importance of focus and preparation for all of our benefit.
Parent or teammate statements about player’s leadership growth:
Jaylon has grown a lot as a leader over the course of this year. His role as a team captain really brought out his ability to talk on defense and hold his teammates accountable. He is a team first player who is always encouraging to his teammates and never focuses on himself before the team. – Reece Schutte
Coach statement on player’s leadership growth from DeShannon Morris:
Jaylon is the epitome of a servant leader. He has a unique ability to make others feel good about themselves. Teachers and coaches alike consistently comment on how compassionate Jaylon is towards others. He constantly encourages his peers to strive to be the best they can be in all that they do. Jaylon is a team first kind of guy in a culture where most players are worried about self. Rather than focusing on his accomplishments and accolades, Jaylon chooses to soar above the temptation of pride and arrogance, instead allowing The Lord to use his humility for The Good of His Kingdom.
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