As a freshman at McCutcheon he had the high school gyms in North Central Indiana buzzing during a memorable 2019-20 campaign.
In the summer of 2020 he put on some dazzling performances for Indiana Elite’s 2023 AAU squad, including a memorable head-to-head tussle with now Purdue 2022 commit Braden Smith.
One thing was clear — there was something very different about this kid. And the results were predictable.
Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn was labeled a 5-star recruit in the class of 2023, and in-state programs Indiana and Purdue offered scholarships.
But since then things have gone pretty quiet. And that is in part because Gibbs-Lawhorn has gone West.
Now at Real Salt Lake Academy in Utah, Gibbs-Lawhorn hasn’t played competitive basketball since 2020, and that is one of the other reasons why you haven’t heard much about the 6-foot-2 guard recently. He had surgery on a lower leg injury last year, and only recently has he started to resume basketball activities.
Gibbs-Lawhorn rolled around his new school in Herriman, Utah just outside of Salt Lake City on a scooter for much of his sophomore year. Given the physical limitations, he was only able to work on the basics of basketball.
“I was really only able to work on my form, and now that I’m back and able to shoot I’m glad I worked on it because my jump shot is better than it ever has been,” Gibbs-Lawhorn told The Daily Hoosier.
It has been a year much different than his freshman season back in Indiana.
Gibbs-Lawhorn averaged 21 points per game while adding 3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and .9 steals per contest as a freshman at McCutcheon High School in Lafayette. He made 49 percent of his shots overall including 46 percent from three-point range on 136 attempts.
A season like that had folks imagining the possibilities, including a potential run at becoming the state’s all-time leading scorer by 2023. But Gibbs-Lawhorn and his family had a different vision for his promising basketball career. Real Salt Lake Academy assembles top talent from across the country, and plays against a national schedule. The hope is that better competition means better development and realization of potential.
“I think it has been a good fit for me,” Gibbs-Lawhorn said. “Basketball-wise it has some of the best facilities in the nation as far as prep schools. I can really develop my game into where I’m meant to be here I think.
“It helps just developing my game playing against some of the best players in the nation. Just iron sharpening iron.”
While he is shooting the ball again, Gibbs-Lawhorn said he still isn’t 100 percent and he doesn’t expect to play any AAU basketball this summer. He joined the Indy Heat Nike EYBL team but doesn’t plan to play in the high profile Peach Jam event in South Carolina next month. Instead, still just entering his junior season, he is taking the long view on his health and development.
The same holds true when it comes to recruiting.
A bit off the radar because of his injury and relocation, Gibbs-Lawhorn’s recruitment has been relatively quiet since the buzz of last summer.
Although he is as of this writing Indiana’s lone 2023 scholarship offer, there hasn’t been dialogue with IU recently. The Hoosiers have seen plenty of change themselves over the last year as well. Since the transition from Archie Miller to Mike Woodson, Indiana has been focused on re-recruiting its own roster, and then recruiting from the transfer portal and the class of 2022 primarily.
Gibbs-Lawhorn did return to his hometown and visited Purdue recently. He is still in Utah this summer and has visits planned there with local schools BYU, Utah and Utah State. He also hears some from Gonzaga.
There continues to be interest between IU and Gibbs-Lawhorn going both ways. The talented point guard is aware of the Hoosiers’ new coaching staff, a group he referred to as “elite” during our conversation. But he is a player who hasn’t played in a while and cannot sign with a school for 17 months at the earliest. So in many ways, with his return to the game, Gibbs-Lawhorn’s recruitment is just beginning.
Whether it be IU or anyone else, if Gibbs-Lawhorn returns to his form from a year ago, schools will be lining up.
And he knows it.
“I know eventually, going on in my career, I’ll pick up more offers,” he said. “So I am not worried if certain schools aren’t reaching out right now.”
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