By Tim Healey, Globe Correspondent
Former Rockland High basketball standout Tyler Gibson has had quite a week.
A whirlwind five-day period began with a call from Pat Duquette, the new men's basketball coach at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The process ended Monday night with what Gibson calls making the biggest decision of his life: to attend Bentley University, and not UMass-Lowell this fall.
Gibson, a 6-foot-6 forward who was the Globe's Division 3, as well as the state Gatorade Player of the Year this past season, had signed a letter of intent with UMass-Lowell, and coach Greg Herenda last November. Herenda, however, was named head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson this spring. UMass-Lowell is making the jump to Division 1, and the America East Conference for the 2013-14 season, from Division 2 (Northeast-10).
Duquette called him Thursday and the bottom line of the “shocking” conversation, as Gibson put it, was that playing time would be hard to come by.
“I felt like Bentley would give me the best chance to succeed in both as aspects, as a person and from the basketball standpoint too,” said Gibson, who averaged 21.4 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.9 blocks for Rockland in 2012-13.
“I have a chance to contribute to a great program.”
He had visited Bentley Sunday and then fellow NE-10 member Merrimack Monday — two schools that had scholarships open and expressed interest when Gibson originally made his college choice — then made his decision Monday night.
Gibson said he had to pick one or the other within a day or two for admissions purposes, so he enlisted the help of longtime area basketball coach Bob Fisher, who was on Bentley’s first varsity basketball squad in 1963.
Gisbon has gotten to know Fisher well through the years, including when he, as a kid, attended basketball camps put on by Fisher — camps hosted Bentley, no less.
It did not take long for the veteran coach to persuade Gibson which way to go.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” Gibson said. “But it all worked out.”
Tim Healey can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.
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