Highly sought after by a number of 4-year universities, Pasadena City College women's basketball sophomore center Kailyn Gideon chose NCAA Division I Grambling State University as her next destination in signing with the Louisiana institution on Wednesday.
It's been quite a journey for Gideon, who started playing basketball as a teenager and attended three different high schools before coming to PCC for the 2015-16 season. The 6-foot-3 Gideon developed over her two seasons at PCC into becoming an All-South Coast Conference North Division Second Team selection as a sophomore. She led the state in blocked shots at 3.8 per game and became both the Lancers' all-time leader (164) and single-season leader (113) in the defensive stuffs category.
Gideon started both of her seasons and in her letterman year of 2016-17 she averaged 8.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest. She was efficient in the post where she made 53 percent of her shots from the field. She totaled more than 500 rebounds in her Lancers career and twice played on teams that advanced to the third round of the Southern California Regionals.
Gideon, a 3.2 GPA student in the classroom, chose Grambling after mulling offers also from Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Alcorn State, Humboldt State, Fresno State, Fresno Pacific, North Carolina-Greensboro and North Carolina Central. Gideon also becomes the fourth Lancer from the '16-17 squad to earn a playing scholarship.
It was Gideon's early childhood experience, growing up her first 4-1/2 years of life in the Central American country of Belize before her family moved her to Los Angeles, that influenced her decision to sign with Grambling.
"I visited there and it immediately felt like home, it was so green and the location reminded me a lot of Belize," Gideon said. "It was a perfect fit too because their program was looking for a player who could be a defensive shot blocker and run the floor. The Grambling coaches told me I was like their missing puzzle piece to becoming really successful next season."
Gideon, who played her last prep season at Glendale High, said she couldn't believe she could go from nearly quitting the game to becoming a player that so many coveted at the 4-year level. She credits PCC head coach Joe Peron for pushing her to become the best she can be.
"Coach Peron really believed in me," Gideon said. "I learned so much about the game from him. I developed my defensive skills and realized I was really good at blocking shots. That ability became a motivation for me. We were a winning program after things didn't go so well my last year in high school. Having this experience at PCC helped me regain a love for the game."
Peron said of Gideon, "Kailyn developed into a fierce defender and shot blocker for us the past two years. She had gone from having no scholarship offers after high school to receiving more than enough in attending PCC. I'm so proud of what she has accomplished and how she matured as both a young lady and an athlete."