He may be fairly quiet and reserved, but as captain of the Whitworth men’s basketball team, senior Wade Gebbers may be one of the most respected people on the Whitworth campus. He is, as head men’s basketball coach Matt Logie put it, “our old wily vet on the team.” And while he has become a role model for his teammates, has maintained strong academics, and begins to start a family of his own, he maintains a maturity beyond his years.
The Gebbers name has a legacy of its own. It’s hard to be exposed to basketball circles in Washington without hearing the Gebbers name mentioned. In his sophomore year at Whitworth, Wade was starting alongside his brother, Clay Gebbers, and his cousin Michael Taylor, who went on to become the NCAA Division III National Player of the Year.
“I come from a pretty small town,” Gebbers said. “Even though we come from a pretty humble family, [Brewster] is now referred to sometimes as ‘Gebbers nation.’”
Now a senior, Gebbers has taken more of a leadership role.
“I used to be more of a distributor, and I still try to do that as a point guard,” Gebbers said. “But I have more responsibility now to make myself and the team better.”
His teammates, however, admire him for his character.
“He leads by example,” junior guard Dustin McConnell said. “He doesn’t just talk a lot.”
“When we’re on the court, it’s his leadership that gets to you,” freshman guard George Valle said. “He’ll look you in the eyes during a timeout and say, ‘We need you to score here,’ and you’ll really want to do it.’”
Gebbers’ passion for helping his teammates is almost equalled to his competitive attitude.
“I want to win,” Gebbers said. “But my main focus is to win while doing the right things, like helping my teammates out.”
Logie can tell that much is obvious.
“He’s got that sense for the moment; he’s not afraid of big shots, while he’s also as selfless a player as I’ve ever seen,” Logie said. “It’s a difficult balance.”
While his personality is obvious to those who have known him for so long, the first impressions some of his teammates have of him are a different story.
“There was this game against George Fox,” McConnell said. “And all of a sudden, he just went off for like 20 points in the second half. That was the first time I thought that, ‘Geez, this guy is good.’”
Valle said his first impression came on his recruiting visit, early last year.
“I was there for a visit and Logie was introducing me to the team right before an open gym practice. Wade is standing to Logie’s right, but as Logie goes around the circle, he forgets to give Wade an introduction. He’s sitting there with his glasses on, all quiet and reserved, looking kind of nerdy,” Valle said.
This was only the beginning though, as Valle soon found out. “I’m thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’” Valle said. “He must be some kind of joke if the coach forgets to introduce him. I got matched up with him right off and I thought the guys were matching me up with one of the weaker players on the team, being nice to the recruit. Next thing I know, he’s just lighting me up from all over the place.”
Gebbers might lead one of the most unconventional lives of any athlete at Whitworth. After getting married in August of this past year, Gebbers is expecting a baby girl in February.
Although his somewhat unorthodox college life is different in comparison to those on the team, Gebbers says that it’s nothing new.
“I’ve never had the same routine as other guys, especially now,” Gebbers said. “We’ll be in the locker room and guys will be talking about their weekends and what movie they’re going to see that night. When they end up asking me what my plans are for the evening, I end up telling them that I’m hanging out with my wife and she’s making dinner. They tell me I’m an old man,” Gebbers said, laughing.
While his early life decisions may fill up his busy life even more, his teammates know that he made them on his own terms.
“He was ready to make that choice to start a family, and I really admire him for that,” McConnell said.
At the same time, Gebbers said that he still wants to be competitive in basketball and pass some of his lessons on to the next generation of Pirate basketball players.
“Above winning, above highlights, what has been most satisfying to me is being a team player,” Gebbers said. “I want them to enjoy this experience while they have it and understand how special it is to be here. We’re doing this for each other.”
Connor Soudani Staff Writer
Contact Connor Soudani at firstname.lastname@example.org.