Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

IU Basketball: Q&A with 2023 in-state guard Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn on rehab, recruiting, transfer

Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn has a lot going on right now. The ninth-ranked player in the class of 2023, the Lafayette, Indiana native Gibbs-Lawhorn already holds offers from the state’s two premier programs: Indiana and Purdue. 

Gibbs-Lawhorn is also dealing with a stress fracture in his ankle, an injury he’s played through for awhile but will keep him sidelined through January of 2021. He even starred in a Gatorade commercial alongside stars like Zion Williamson. 

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.  He made 49 percent of his shots overall including 46 percent from three-point range on 136 attempts.

I talked to Gibbs-Lawhorn for The Hoosier Experience podcast, and have included some of what he said in a “Q & A” format below.

(Note: Gibbs-Lawhorn announced on Tuesday he would be transferring to Real Salt Lake Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah. This interview was conducted prior to the announcement.  I asked him about his reason for the transfer after the podcast.)

The Daily Hoosier’s Aidan Kunst: Can you update us on your injury and what your reaction was when you heard that news?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: I was at the Crossroads Camp (in Wichita, KS) and I went up for a layup and got kicked dead in the center of my ankle. By the third day of the camp, I couldn’t even walk. I planned to sit out the rest of the camp, but then I took medicine that a teammate’s parent gave me, and I felt better and played on it. That probably wasn’t very smart (laughs). At first we thought it was a sore ankle, but three weeks later it still didn’t feel better. At first, doctors said it was a stress fracture, and that I had had it for nine to ten months now. That was when I had to have surgery.

AK: There was a report that said you were out for the season. Is that still accurate?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: I think I could be back by Sectionals (first week of March). The doctors have told me that I’m progressing really well, and that I can be back by mid-January or late January. 

AK: What have you learned about yourself and your relationship with the game during this tough time?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: This has easily been my lowest point of life, but I don’t look at it that way. I take it as a positive to make me get back up, go to the gym, just keep coming back. Sticking with that mentality, it went from being a whole season to “hey, I’m back by January.”

AK: Is there an added focus on studying the game now that you can’t actually play it for awhile?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: Absolutely. I will watch some of my highlights from my AAU season and I’ll watch highlights for my high school season and just seeing how I progressed from high school to AAU is amazing. I’m looking back at school ball and I’m like ‘dang, I had six turnovers, what am I doing?’ And then I’m able to look at the AAU season, and I didn’t really force too much and I trusted my teammates more. 

AK: Obviously you came in at number nine in the latest 247 rankings for 2023. What did you make of that?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: Rankings are rankings. To any kid out there, rankings do not mean anything. If you see new rankings come out and you know you’re better than the kid that is number one, just go put in extra work, make that your motivation and look at it as a positive. 

AK: What was your reaction to officially getting the Indiana and Purdue offers?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: It’s always a great feeling. Most kids my age don’t get offers, much less a major D1 offer, so it felt great. My friends, they get into a lot of arguments. I have a lot of IU friends, a lot of Purdue friends, and they’ll say “you know he’s going to IU right?” or “no, he’s going to Purdue!” I just have to say “guys, just calm down.” (laughs)

AK: How often do you talk to IU?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: I probably talk to IU once or twice a month. I talk to Purdue the same amount. I don’t talk to many other schools, but the school that has most wanted to get in contact with me recently is Kentucky. 

AK: How interested are you in seeing how Khristian Lander does at IU as you work your way towards a decision?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: I’m sure no matter how Archie coaches him, Khristian is going to have a huge year. But that’s something that you have to pay attention to as recruit, you want to see how free teams let their point guards be, or how much they want them to run the offense.

AK: Why did you decide to make the move from your hometown McCutcheon High School to Real Salt Lake Academy?

Gibbs-Lawhorn: It was the best choice for myself and my career. The step up in competition is going to help me get better, and it’s going to open a lot more eyes.

You can listen to full interview with Dra, as well as interviews with other IU players and recruits, on The Hoosier Experience Podcast, hosted by Aidan Kunst.

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