Joe Fagan is what I like to call a lifer. He is one of those people who wakes up every day with basketball on the mind. It may be why he is one of the best teachers of the game in the entire state. Joe Fagan doesn’t take ready made players, win a lot of games and brag about those players accomplishments. He develops talent. He takes kids and squeezes there talent. The NJ BELLES Fagan crew were not a team of household names. Kylie Capstraw was the one player with a so called reputation. Everyone one else was just assigned with the label “Potential” the most over used word in sports. But Joe Fagan has helped all his players do something that rarely happens… help them fulfill their potential. JULIANNA GIBSON of Colts Neck High School just may be his master piece!

I have watched Colts Neck high school over the past 4 years. Mostly because Camryn Foltz, a player there. She was a star and D1 player who choose to continue her career at Dartmouth University. During this time, I would always ask her about Julianna Gibson. Why? Because she was so athletic and talented. I always asked Camryn, where she trained? Who she played AAU with? It just seemed nobody including Camryn Foltz knew much about Julianna Gibson outside activities. Just like when she committed to ST. FRANCIS UNIVERSITY OF PA, most didn’t know about it or saw it coming in July. Basically nobody knew it happened and she did it quietly and under the radar. It’s seems Julianna Gibson is that rare kid. Not seeking the spotlight. She didn’t list the schools recruiting her on social media. She didn’t feel the need to brag about her accomplishments. That’s because Julianna Gibson knows there is more to athletics than trying to steal and be in the spotlight. She knows substance matters so much more.

They say tough times don’t last but tough people do. Well Julianna Gibson and her family are tough and they are strong. You see Julianna and her sister were all adopted by her dad.. DR. GiBSON! Catherine Gibson her older sister plays basketball at Salisbury,
Eva gibson her middle sister is a D1 track runner at American. They all lost their dad 2 years ago unexpectedly. The rock in their lives The person who inspired them and told them, they could be and do anything. Leaving them them and their mother behind to pick up the pieces. Today he is looking down on his daughters knowing he was right that they can do all. That’s because today they are all successful. His baby of the group Julianna is now a Division one basketball player. Today she has fullfilled her promise as well . It just happened 3 months ago before we fully acknowledged her accomplishment... he just happened to know about her greatness long before us.

When you lose you entire Sophomore season of basketball. It can be hard to move forward. It’s even harder when you lose your father. It’s why nobody expected much for Colts Neck High school or Juliann Gibson last year during Covid. Both her sister were off to college it was just she and her mom. But Colts Neck high school and Julianna had a dream season before losing in the SCT POD C CHAMPIONSHIP game to TRINITY HALL. It was a disappointment for Colts Neck but it also was a sign of things to come for Julianna Gibson. She had a comeback season that gave her confidence and more importantly a chance to build on something exciting… THE FUTURE!

Joe Fagan is someone who believes if a kid works hard and is willing to listen. Then that kid has a chance to reach their potential. Julianna Gibson, is and was that kid. She may have not had much of a reputation or hype other kids had. But she had a desire to learn and play the right way. Joe Fagan gave her the environment to do both of those things. He also showcased her to college coaches. He let them see her ability to run the floor, rebound and defend. He told Julianna to make winning plays on the court. Not worry about points, show time or a scholarship. He asked her to trust him, she did and the result is now history. JULIANNA GIBSON IS OFF TO ST. FRANCIS PA and the world of D1 basketball. It’s just took us a little longer to see her greatness… CONGRATULATIONS TO JULIANNA GIBSON AND THE NJ BELLES… you did it again even if it took us to long to see it.


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