Tyson Gibson had some conversations with New York Riptide General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe over the summer about the National Lacrosse League draft. The expansion team was in possession of the first overall pick and Gibson was one of the top prospects available to be selected so there was a chance that the former Robert Morris star and Co-Captain was going to be Long Island bound.
And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night in Philadelphia when the Riptide made Gibson the first overall selection in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft. As Gibson waited backstage, he knew he was going to be hearing NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz call his name, but the only question was how quickly it would happen and where he would be going.
“I was just excited to live out my dream and celebrate it with my friends and family,” said Gibson, the Northeast Conference Player of the Year in 2019. “When I heard my name, nothing else went through me but complete excitement and I was just happy to get drafted. I’m just looking forward to contributing anyway I can and help the team win and compete as an organization.”
The Riptide considered several players with the first overall pick including former Syracuse star Tyson Bomberry who they took with the tenth overall selection in the first round, but Gibson was the choice to go first overall. Gibson guided Robert Morris to back to back Northeast Conference championships and consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He was the first Colonials player in school history to earn three All-NEC honors during his career.
“Tyson is just an unbelievable player,” Thorpe told me earlier this week on my “Schwartz On Sports” podcast. “I tracked him through junior at Brampton in Ontario (Canada) and then and then out west in Victoria. “He’s a player that has been playing with men for the last couple of years and putting up great numbers not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well. We couldn’t be more excited to get Tyson on board and have him be part of the Riptide family.”
Gibson spent the past two summers with Victoria in the Western Lacrosse Association this past summer and helped guide the Shamrocks to the Mann Cup Final. In 21 games over two seasons in Victoria, Gibson tallied 30 goals to go along with 29 assists for a total of 59 points.
He’s excited to bring his skillset to the Riptide and to the many lacrosse fans on Long Island and the New York area that will fill the seats at NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“As an offensive player, I bring the same level of unselfishness and grittiness,” said Gibson, a native of Maple, Ontario. “I like to get in the middle and create space for my teammates. I know they’re going to do the same for me and I think as a group we’re going to work together as one. The fans should expect a fast-paced game, quick ball movement, a lot of big hits and a lot of good picks so I’m excited.”
Gibson is going to be a big part of the return of indoor lacrosse to the Nassau Coliseum, the home of three prior teams, the Long Island Tomahawks, the New York Saints, and the New York Titans. Long Island is a huge hotbed for lacrosse with a history of developing many great players and tons of kids playing the sport, so Gibson knows that he’s in a good spot playing in the shadows of New York City.
“It’s New York so there’s so much opportunity for us,” said Gibson. “I remember growing up and my dad was playing, and they had a New York team at the time, so I remember watching them. It’s exciting to see that lacrosse culture get back to the New York area, especially with the indoor game so I look forward to the opportunity.”
Tyson’s father Darryl Gibson played in the NLL (formerly the Major Indoor Lacrosse League) from 2000 to 2012 so he faced both the New York Saints and New York Titans during his career. And now that Tyson is set to play in the National Lacrosse League for the Riptide, there’s going to be an interesting scenario. Tyson’s dad is currently an assistant coach for the New England Black Wolves so there are going to be three times during the regular season when it’s going to be father versus son.
As it turns out, Gibson has already chatted with his dad about what could be a bit of an awkward situation, especially for the first meeting on December 27th at Mohegan Sun Arena.
“He coached me growing up my whole life so maybe the first couple of shifts in the first game seeing him on the other bench might be a little weird,” said Gibson. “But even before he considered coaching in the NLL, he asked me about it just to make sure it was okay knowing I was coming. Obviously when we’re off the floor it’s family but once I get on (the floor), he’s the enemy. It’s going to be weird at first but I’m excited to do my best to put a couple of goals past (his father’s team).”
After that first meeting with his father’s club, Gibson and the Riptide will play their home opener the next night at the Nassau Coliseum against the Saskatchewan Rush. It will be the first chance for the fans to see the Riptide’s spectacular uniforms that were unveiled just minutes before Gibson was taken with the first overall pick. The reaction to the jerseys has been off the charts and that goes for Gibson as well.
“I really do enjoy them,” said Gibson. “They’re really clean and simple and that’s something that I really like. They’re extremely well done so I’m excited to put those jerseys on and get the season going.”
Regy Thorpe and his staff has been working hard to put a talented roster on the field for the Riptide during their inaugural season in 2019-20 and now Tyson Gibson is one of the pieces to that puzzle. The first overall pick in the NLL draft brings an exciting style of play to Long Island and his offensive game will electrify the fans at the Nassau Coliseum.