Student-Athlete Spotlight: Liam Gibcus

March 12, 2013

I AM UAA: Liam GibcusCivil Engineering, Class of 2013
Hometown: Lysterfield, Australia
Fun Fact: His mom mails him Tim Tams, his favorite treat from home

It’s difficult for Liam Gibcus to go unnoticed. Standing at 6’10″, this Seawolf basketball star easily towers above any crowd.
“Doorways can be a problem sometimes,” he laughs. “But it’s definitely nice [to be tall] somewhere like a concert, and on the court of course.”

He may stand out to the average person, but he’s getting attention at UAA in more ways than one. With his best season on the court and his all-academic recognitions, Liam is proving he is the cream of the crop. 

Liam was raised in Lysterfield, Australia, with his parents and three sisters. Growing up, he describes himself as lively. “I was a wild child with lots of energy to burn. I needed to put my energy in something,” he says. Liam put his energy into sports and staying active. From water skiing with his dad to swimming and soccer, he did a little of everything.

As he continued to grow, it became clear that Liam was built for basketball. “I kept getting taller and taller,” he says. It was his freshman year in high school when Liam discovered just how tall he might be. At a trip to get braces, the dentist took an x-ray of his hand. “Apparently a hand x-ray can tell how much you’re going to grow. They said I was going to be at least 6’5″, and I thought ‘no way!’”

His height and talent made Liam a great threat to his competitors and a great recruit for college scouts. He was competing in the Under 20′s National Tournament when he was approached by UAA. “Alaska sounded interesting. It was something so different, it intrigued me,” he says. 

It was the “UAA vibe” he says that won him over. “The coaching staff and team were honest and wanted to make sure I made the most of my time at UAA. It’s not a quality seen everywhere in college sports,” says Liam.

His passion for basketball and the time spent in arenas and stadiums led him to study engineering. “I was always looking at buildings fascinated by all of these parts holding this massive structure together,” he says. Since UAA’s engineering program was solid, Liam knew UAA was great fit. “My coaches warned me about how tough studying engineering would be while traveling with the team,” he laughs. “They weren’t lying.”

Despite difficulty, Liam has managed life on the road and in the classroom exceptionally well. Last year, this civil engineering major repeated as a GNAC All-Academic Team honoree, posting the highest overall GPA (3.84) among the league’s nine American institutions for the second straight year. More recently, he added a major academic achievement to his resume when he earned CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District honors. He was recently recognized as one of the top 15 performers in NCAA Division II men’s basketball in terms of both academic and on-court accomplishments, earning selection to the Capitol One Academic All-America Third Team with a 3.80 overall GPA.

As the team’s only fourth-year senior, the Aussie made his mark on the hardwood too. He averaged 11 points per game and team-highs of 6.5 rebounds per game. He even led the GNAC in field goal percentage with .576. Along with ranks in rebounding (10th), offensive rebounding (2nd with 2.9 orpg) and free throw percentage (13th with .750), he ranks No. 7 on UAA’s career field goal percentage list at .563. He also stands tied for ninth in games played (107), and tied for fourth in games won (77). With one more victory, he will tie former All-Americans Carl Arts and Luke Cooper (2004-08) as the second-winningest player in program history.

Head Coach Rusty Osborne says Liam is invaluable to the team. “What I really like about Liam is seeing his personal growth from his freshman year to this year. He’s really flourished as a leader and big brother on the team. He’s been a key component in our success this year.”

Liam finished his senior year on top. He’s been an essential element that helped the team finish with an 18-9 overall record, and third in the GNAC with an 11-7 league record, falling just short of their third straight NCAA Tournament berth.

His success, Coach Osborne explains, has come with a lot of hard work and dedication. “Liam is very goal-oriented. When it comes to putting in the time, in the classroom or on the court, he focuses and sacrifices some late nights and downtime to be so successful. There are no shortcuts with Liam.”

Liam adds, “I like to come out knowing I put my best in everything I do.”

Liam’s success will be even greater after life at UAA, says Osborne. “When he’s building bridges or buildings, people can rest assured knowing he put in the time, worked hard and knows what he’s doing.”

Liam is just one of many student-athletes who helped UAA to a record grade-point average of 3.20 over the past two semesters. This is the 16th time in the past 19 years that UAA’s student-athletes have eclipsed a 3.0 GPA. Learn more about Liam’s success this season and his fellow Seawolves at www.goseawolves.com .

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