By JACK LeGWIN
Injuries are a part of being an athlete. In order to play the game you love, sometimes, you have to go through some tough times and rehab injuries that slow you down on your road to success.
There might not be anyone who can appreciate the hard work that goes into rehabbing an injury, more than David Pierce.
Pierce tore his ACL back in January of 2016, and had to take the long road of recovery back to the hardwood. But often times, the feeling of getting back playing the sport you love outweighs the tough grind of rehabilitation.
“Emotionally, it was a great feeling for sure to be back,” Pierce told BTS Sports. “Going through everything that I went through was tough for sure. There were times where I questioned whether I’d ever get a chance to sign a National Letter of Intent. Being able to do that, it meant a lot to me. It definitely helped me appreciate the game. It taught me to never take the game of basketball for granted.”
Now, the 6-foot-2, 200 pound Pierce has signed with Coastal Carolina, and will head to Conway, SC after his senior year at Gibbs. He said that when he was looking at schools, he felt like being a Chanticleer was the right way to go.
“I wanted to go to a place that was a second home,” Pierce said. “I felt like I could compete anywhere, so that wasn’t what I was looking at. I wanted to go to a place where I felt comfortable for the next four years.”
In terms of what Pierce can bring to the program, he said he wants to earn everything, and work the hardest he can.
“I’m trying to come in and work every single day,” Pierce said. “I want to be the hardest working player there from the beginning and being a leader. I want to do whatever I can do to help us be successful.”
Once he moved over to St. Pete Gibbs from St. Petersburg High School, Pierce learned quickly that he had to be the guy to get the team back on its feet.
“It taught me a lot about myself,” Pierce said. “I didn’t know if I could do it to be honest with you. With me showing up last year, it taught me how to grow up and become a leader. Definitely helped me in life.”
Last year, Pierce led Gibbs to a 20-7 record, averaging 23 points per game as a junior, but he had an important job, as one of the three upperclassmen on the squad, teaching the freshmen, especially then-freshman and up and comer Tre Gilliam what it takes to succeed at the high school level.
“That really pushed me to be a leader,” Pierce said. “I knew he was looking up to me last year, and he was learning how to be the guy when I leave. That pushed me to be better every day.”
But what does being a leader mean to Pierce?
“Being a leader to me is not just being a guy who speaks about being a leader,” Pierce said. “It’s about showing the guys the ropes. Whether that’s on the court or off the court. Taking the most initiative when it comes to anything. Being the first guy in the gym to get shots up, whatever the coach needs me to do. Showing the other guys that this is how things are done.”
It’s been a long road for Pierce, but the chances that the road ahead will carry a lot of accomplishment and success, are very high.
Pierce has led the current Gibbs squad to a 10-4 record, averaging 22.2 PPG and 5.4 RPG.
Photo: Varsity Views