ON A DAY off from practice the week before Texas's first exhibition game of this season, Gibson is relaxing in his dorm room, content with the prospects for his sophomore year. Aldridge is healed and Tucker is eligible, and the Longhorns have an opportunity to reach their first Final Four since Ford led them there in 2003. Gibson has outgrown the Little Gib moniker; now he's D-Gib, which is spelled out in diamond baguettes on the medallion hanging from his neck. But he remains close to his Houston roots. The black cap he wears backward with his burnt-orange warmups reads, screwston, tx., in homage to the Houston-based Chopped and Screwed hip-hop boom, which has coincided with the rise of the city's basketball rep.
As he punches buttons on his stereo remote, Gibson asks his guest, "You actually want to hear this?" Following an affirmative reply, the intro to Game Over by Houstonite Lil' Flip shakes Daniel's minispeakers, and he is smirking, because he knows what's coming next is not Flip. Instead the voices of Gibson and his cousin Isreal Chandler, a University of Houston freshman, are rapping over the beat. The track, Gibson says, was cut in the backyard studio of a family friend before Daniel first left for college.
As the lyric The name's D-Gib/you heard about me/a cute n---- from Houston headed to UT fills the room, Daniel is doubled over in his chair, laughing. There'll be no frantic, early morning calls home this season.