It's been a long time since there was any good news coming out of the Texas basketball program. Well, if you aren't Rick Barnes, that is, who received a recent $200k raise. Since late in the second-round tournament game against Arizona, everything has seemingly been downhill, culminating in the losses of Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and the unexpected departure of Cory Joseph to the NBA draft.
Monday evening, former Maryland commit and Rivals three-star prospect Sterlilng Gibbs gave suffering Longhorn roundball fans something to feel good about after a difficult two months. Released from his letter of intent after Gary Williams retired, Gibbs is a 6-1, 180-pound point guard from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, NJ. Despite the presence of star point guard Myck Kabongo in the 2011 class, Gibbs' relationship with new Texas assistant Rob Lanier from his time at Florida and the opening created by Joseph leaving was enough to lure Gibbs to Austin following a weekend visit.
The younger brother of Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs, the New Jersey product is a scorer by nature who has developed his point guard skills over time, so it's not out of the question that he could play with both Kabongo and J'Covan Brown, another lead guard with the confidence to look for his own shots. With the same toughness and competitiveness that makes his brother effective at the college level, Gibbs should fit well with a Texas team that should look to push the ball at every opportunity to compensate for the lack of a low post presence.
A more advanced scorer than fellow 2011 commit Julien Lewis, Rick Barnes will likely mix and match the two, with Gibbs providing the scoring and ball-handling and Lewis providing the defense and high motor plays. However, Gibbs does need to work to add strength and raise the low release on his jumpshot. In addition, his lack of size could make him a liability defensively against bigger shooting guards when he plays the two, so if Barnes decides to play with with Kabongo or Brown, playing zone might be the best option on defense given that Gibbs is likely shorter than 6-1 and a pretty average athlete.
Gibbs joins Kabongo, Lewis, Sheldon McClellan, Jonathan Holmes, and Kevin Thomas in the 2011 Texas class. Of course, talented wing Deandre Daniels is also still uncommitted, but expected to make his decision between Texas, Duke, and Kansas in the next several days.
Here are some older clips of Gibbs:
USA Basketball DNT - Sterling Gibbs (via 2009USABDNT)
Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall Prep) (via HSSMTV)