Jazlyn Gibbs: athlete and leader

James and Dorothea Gibbs were convinced that, after having three athletically gifted boys, when Jazlyn Gibbs was born she’d be on the sidelines of games, not playing them.

“Jazlyn is the quintessential female, a girly girl,” said Dorothea.

Dorothea never imagined her daughter would become the athlete that she has turned out to be.

Jazlyn, now a junior majoring in psychology and interpersonal communication, starts as guard for Guilford’s women’s basketball team.

As the four-year letter winner for coach Joe Stone at Southeast Guilford High School, Jazlyn earned All-Mid Piedmont 3A Conference and all-area honors. She helped the team to two conference championships and one regional title, while also playing volleyball.

Jazlyn transferred to Guilford in fall 2009 from the University of South Carolina-Aiken, though she enjoyed the campus, she wanted to move closer to home.

“I liked Aiken, but didn’t like playing basketball there,” said Jazlyn. “So far things are going great at Guilford.”

Last year she was a top scorer for the Quakers, ranked third in assists and tied for fourth in steals. Gibbs was ranked 13 among Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) leaders in scoring during the 2009-10 season.

Stephanie Flamini, head women’s basketball coach, said Jazlyn is a determined athlete.

 “I feel Jazlyn is a very mentally tough athlete,” said Flamini. “When she gets determined she is probably unstoppable, she is one of the best guards in our conference. She is very competitive and does not like to lose.”  

According to Flamini, Jazlyn came to Guilford with natural talents.

“She isn’t afraid to take a last shot or be the go-to player, said Flamini. “She embraces pressure situations—she attacks it, which is the response that breeds success.” 

Where basketball is concerned, Flamini says that Guilford is lucky to have her on the team.

“I am happy she is playing for us and we are not playing against her, said Flamini. “I look forward to seeing her career play out here the next two years.”

Jazlyn says the push and pull of homework and practices were hard to deal with in the beginning, but now she has a schedule that leaves her time, albeit snug, to be a student athlete.

Even with the stresses of school and practices, Jazlyn has time to remain the leader she was born to be.

Jazlyn led the Quakers in scoring with an average of 11.5 points per game last season.

She stood 10 among the league’s free-throw shooters (.761) and 13 in three-point field-goal percentage (.346) during the 2009-10 season.

Jazlyn is third on the team with 1.7 assists and 0.5 blocks per outing. Her 1.2 steals per game stand fifth on the team and she has 14 contests with 10 or more points, including four in a row, according to the Guilford College website.

First-year Gabriel Oglesby has encountered Jazlyn’s leadership both on and off the court.

“Jazlyn is a great person to play with,” said Oglesby. “She is very unselfish and is always looking to get the whole team involved. She never tries to make it all about her, even though she could take over very easily.”

Oglesby said though Jazlyn is a very outspoken person, she only tries to motivate those around her positively.

“Jazlyn enjoys life and all that it brings,” said Oglesby. “The energy lights up whenever she is around, and I enjoy being in her company.”

Sophomore Brittany Atwater calls Jazlyn a triple threat.

“She can dribble, shoot and drive,” said Atwater. “When she is on the court things go a lot smoother. Jazlyn is also a hard worker and motivates others to work hard. She is also a very good leader and very vocal, which is what this team needs.”

Atwater, much like Oglesby, said off the court Jazlyn is a very good friend and confidant.

“When it comes to needing advice she’s always willing to help,” said Atwater. “Jazlyn’s personality off the court has a lot to do with the type of person she is on the court.”

Though Jazlyn’s athletics have earned her scholarships and accolades, she remains steadfast to learning and hopes that after her collegiate career she will be able to put her degree to work.

“If the opportunity came about to play basketball professionally I wouldn’t pass it up,” said Jazlyn. “For the time being I’m focused on getting my degree and doing something with that.”

Though the future of the women’s basketball season is uncertain, one thing is sure— Jazlyn works very hard in the classroom, is dedicated to being well-rounded student-athlete and a leader—all which she does well.