Before settling on his college choice, Gilbert Peters already was a fan of Fort Hays State’s Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Gross Coliseum happened to be where Peters and the Montezuma-South Gray Rebels capped off a 26-0 season by winning the Class 1A Division I state basketball tournament.
“It’s a nice arena,” Peters said. “I’m sure the crowds get pretty wild in there.”
He’ll soon get the chance to find out.
Peters is headed to Fort Hays for basketball and track and field after signing with the Tigers last April.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder was receiving heavy interest for track and field and was initially planning to go that route, before the Tigers' offer gave him the best of both worlds.
“At the beginning I had more schools interested in me for throwing,” Peters said after playing in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Star game on Saturday in Salina. “Didn’t think of basketball (in college) much any more. Then a couple schools came up and I thought it would be cool to play both. (Fort Hays) offered me to do both track and basketball, a better offer than just track.”
Peters won the Class 1A title in the shot put by more than 7 feet at 58-2 and claimed the discus by more than 24 feet at 175-6. His top marks on the season were 58-3 in shot put and 184-06.50 in discus. The shot put mark was the second best in the state while his toss in discus ranked fourth.
His resume in basketball includes a first-team All-State selection by The Topeka Capital-Journal after he averaged 16.6 points and 10.8 rebounds, despite not playing in several fourth quarters as the Rebels routinely dominated opponents. He’s known for throwing down powerful dunks and having good mobility for someone his size.
Peters said it was relief the Tigers came in with offers for both sports so he wouldn’t have to give up basketball.
“I liked the coaching staff and the players there,” Peters said of Fort Hays State. “They’re a bunch of nice guys and it’s a nice campus. It’s not too far away from home. It was kind of easy to make (the decision).”
Peters had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue team in a 112-106 overtime win in the KBCA game. He helped the Blue rally from a 12-point halftime deficit in the second half and hit two key free throws in the overtime session.
“I think we just made a few more stops,” Peters said. “And we made some more free throws there at the end. We put the pieces together. It was a good weekend.”
There was also a future Tiger in the KBCA girls game, with FHSU women’s basketball signee Cydney Bergmann playing for the Blue team. The Concordia guard scored 13 points for the Blue in an 84-80 loss to the White.
“You don’t always get the opportunity to play with the best of the best,” Bergmann said. “Win or lose, it was just amazing.”
Bergmann averaged 18.5 points and eight rebounds as a senior. She signed with FHSU in April.
“I really thought they were a family and I felt really at home when I went there,” Bergmann said of the Tigers. “I’m really excited to go and see what I can do.”