Updated: Jun 11, 2022
As school is back in session and teams start preparing for their upcoming seasons, Pro Insight will be on campuses throughout the country taking in practices. We recently visited Real Salt Lake Academy (UT) to catch-up on prospects, gather information, and meet with coaches. After practice, we caught up with RSL’s Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn.
Currently ranked as a four-star prospect, Gibbs-Lawhorn is an electric combo guard who can put up points in a hurry. His blend of perimeter shooting, quickness with the ball, and craftiness at the rim make him a tough cover for the opposition. Still recovering from a foot injury suffered in August of 2020, Gibbs-Lawhorn has been working to get back to his former self and is eager to return to game action this season.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Gibbs-Lawhorn discussed his decision to join Real Salt Lake Academy, what it’s been like recovering from injury, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn, from Lafayette, Indiana:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Dravyn Gibbs-Lawhorn: I’m originally from Lafayette, Indiana, and I’m the youngest boy in my family. My dad has eight children: five boys and three girls. I’m the youngest boy, but I have a younger sister. We’re all from Indiana looking to make our way out west to Utah. Right now I’ve got one of my brothers out here with two more on the way. My dad and mom are also out here.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
DGL: My brother Layden, he plays for the RSL prep program actually. He’s probably got the most bounce I’ve ever seen in person, honestly. Then I’ve got two more brothers, Ben Jr. and Gabe which are both coming out to play post grad out here.
PI: What led to your decision to join RSL?
DGL: When I was in Indiana I felt like I should have been challenged a little bit better my freshman year just to prepare me for better games. So I feel like coming out and playing with and against some of the best players and teams in the nation really has me set for that. It will have me ready for the next level.
PI: How do you feel like your game has grown since joining RSL?
DGL: It’s grown a lot, just being out for a year and watching a lot of basketball just helped me a lot. Studying people's moves, what people are going to do, like if you take something away what else can they do off a counter dribble? Just stuff like that helped my defense a lot and showed and taught me a lot more about basketball than I already knew.
PI: Who are some guys you liked to watch?
DGL: My favorite player to watch is Ja Morant, he’s probably my favorite player in the league right now. My favorite player this year to watch is probably going to be LeBron James because I feel like he’s got something special for people.
PI: Why do you like watching Ja Morant?
DGL: Just how he’s underweight, he’s a small guard and he still finds a way to create for his team. Whether it’s scoring, rebounding, playing defense, or getting steals. He always finds a way to provide for his team and put the team on his shoulders...not just scoring-wise, but by being a team player.
PI: Do you see yourself that way as well?
DGL: Yeah, I mean I don’t really try to be anybody else but myself. I just try to be the best teammate I can possibly be so I ask Coach [Dave Evans] for advice on how to be a better teammate not just on how to be a better player because I know I have the skills and I know I have everything I need to continue getting better, but I’m not really worried about that right now. I just want to be a team player.
PI: Describe your game — what are your strengths?
DGL: Most people that have seen me play would probably say my strength is probably scoring, shooting the ball...I’m in a slump right now, but it will probably be good by the season. I just got back like a month ago for the first time in a year, so I’m going through a bit of a slump. But the strongest parts of my offensive game are probably my shot and my ability to get to the basket and finish.
PI: What about some areas of improvement?
DGL: I say this in every interview I go through — the area I always look to improve and get better at is defense. My defense has come a very long way, I used to not even be able to hold my own defender in front of me. My whole life people were telling me, “you’re not going to go D1 if you can’t hold a D2 player in front of you,” so I kind of let that motivate me and build my defense and make me work harder so that I can contain my opponent a lot better than I was able to before.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
DGL: My athleticism. People look at me as a 6’2” little lanky guard, shooter...they probably don’t expect me to take it down the lane and punch on them one time. I like that, though. I like when people don’t see that about me. They don’t know, they go for a block and all of a sudden they’re viral.
PI: You’ve been out with injury — what exactly happened? How’s the recovery process been?
DGL: Alright so the injury first happened late August of 2020, so it’s been about a year since I’ve been able to play. What happened is I went up for a layup, my foot had already been fractured leading up to this camp [CrossRoads Elite Invitational] from earlier in the season, but I didn’t know. So I went up for a layup and a kid kicked my ankle and it just snapped immediately. I still ended up playing a couple more days on it because I didn’t know it was broken yet. I felt the pain in my ankle, but I just didn’t think it was broken, I thought it was a sprain or something. So I just played it off and then the last day of the camp I couldn’t even walk, but I took like a 1300mg Tylenol and still played though. It was the top-80 game and I had to get in, everyone was watching so I had to play. It probably wasn’t the best decision because I really didn’t do that well and I had a broken ankle so probably wasn’t smart to play on it even more.
PI: Which foot was it on and what has the recovery been like?
DGL: It was my right foot — the right navicular bone, specifically. The recovery for it has been kind of rough. I was supposed to be back in like January 2021, but due to the navicular bone and where it’s located it gets the least amount of healing...and honestly I’m a very active kid, I don’t like to sit still at all. So you put me in a boot and I have to take it off, I can’t just sit there in a boot. I can’t not walk. I’ve got to be able to at least walk. So when they were telling me, “look bro you can’t walk” and I was still walking I was probably doing more damage to my ankle. And dunking in my boot...I was dunking in my boot like an idiot [laughs].
PI: What was the mental process like trying to work your way back from injury? How do you feel now?
DGL: When I was first coming back it was pretty tough. I would play people one-on-one that I know I should probably beat, but they would beat me. I was like, “man what is going on?!” and I’d get so down and negative on myself that it made me kind of want to move away from the game just for a little bit. But, like I always do, I just let that build as motivation and just keep going at it. I’m starting to get back to my old self. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can start to see the progress week by week.
PI: You’re a highly ranked prospect in the 2023 class — with your injury do you feel like you’re being slept on?
DGL: I really don’t feel a certain way about things. I know I’ve been forgotten about. I know there are haters out there. It’s whatever, I’m just ready to get back to the game I love. I’m not really worried about politics. People don’t really understand that I really had nothing else to get off my mind besides basketball and I couldn’t play for a year. So people may look at it as politics, rankings, all the other types of stuff, but I just want to come out here to get better and do the thing I love.
PI: What are you eager to show coaches this season?
DGL: I’m just eager to show them that I’m willing to play and do whatever I need to do for a team or playing style. Of course not like bringing me out of my game, but I’m willing to do whatever the coach wants me to do. I’m a really good listener, I’d say...sometimes I forget a little bit, I’ve got a short memory up here [points to head], but if you get in my butt about it I’ll for sure memorize it like that.
PI: What’s the update with your recruitment?
DGL: Recruiting lately has been very good...for any kid to have this is a blessing. So far I’ve been hearing from UCLA, I think they’re coming on Monday to watch practice. As of today we had Utah, BYU, and Purdue here at practice. So those four schools there have really been the main ones that have been talking to me. I’ve heard from Gonzaga, Arizona, Missouri and Kentucky, as well.
PI: Are you taking any visits in the near future?
DGL: I’ve got an unofficial this Saturday at BYU and then I’m talking to Indiana. I don’t know if Kentucky wants me to go out there or if they’re coming here, I’m not sure. Kentucky and Indiana are who I’m looking at for visits right now. Missouri, they want me to come on a visit. No dates set as of now, we’ll have to figure those out.
PI: What are you looking for in your school of choice?
DGL: A coach that’s going to let me play my style, not necessarily do whatever I want I would say…but kind of put the motions through me, not necessarily all of the motions because I’m a team player as well. I’m just the type of guy that whenever we need a bucket I’m here and I’ll go get it. I’m just looking for an amazing team, a great coach that’s not going to affect my game at all and is going to let me play how I play. That’s really all I’m looking for when it comes to choosing a college.
PI: What are your off-court interests?
DGL: When I was back in Indiana I would always hang out with a couple of my friends. Here in Utah these guys are my friends, they’re my brothers on the team and the only guys I really hang out with out here. I really don’t hang out with many guys outside of school, I just come into the gym to get some work. I mean I will sometimes, but maybe once or twice a week. My main focus right now is just basketball and getting better and being ready for the start of the season.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
DGL: #blessed. I’m just blessed. Every D1 athlete is just blessed to have a scholarship...it doesn’t even have to be D1, any person who gets a scholarship for what they love to do...they’re blessed. You put the work in and you should feel a little bit proud of yourself, but God is the reason why everyone is where they are and if you don’t talk to God then that’s your fault.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
DGL: A basketball and hoop for sure...it doesn’t even have to be full size, it could be a mini-hoop that I would hang up on a branch [laughs]. A bed and blanket...I need a bed and a blanket. I would also need some company, I would be bored...like a dog. Basketball supplies, a bed, and a dog.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for on and off the court?
DGL: Just always being respectful and having manners for everybody. People make me mad, but I’m the type of person who will let it go to the side and not say anything about it. I just want to be looked at as a respectful being...people have their days, but what matters is your manners and being respectful nowadays I feel like.