We all know that Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs has declared for the NBA Draft. But was it Jamie Dixon's idea? A recent quote by Dixon seems to indicate that.
In discussing Gibbs' potential early exit, Dixon said:
"Ashton wants to see where he stands with NBA draft possibilities," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. "Ashton and I have had numerous discussions dating back to last year. Anytime you’re an All-Big East First Team player, it is something we encourage our players to look into...
It doesn't surprise me that Pitt would encourage players to look into their options if they're an all-conference first team player, but it's the first I've heard of it. I don't think 'look into' is in terms of flat-out declaring for the draft (hard to imagine that there's a cookie-cutter template for recommending any first-teamer go through the draft process), but it likely means that they should at least look at the possibility. And that's probably a good idea - any kid that will be drafted should leave if he wants to.
Gibbs' greatest deficiency according to some is that he doesn't have the ability to penetrate the lane. His father Temple Gibbs, however, says he's able to get to the basket - while subtly hinting that Pitt's system may be a hindrance to that:
"He can play point guard," Temple said. "He has point guard skills. He can do a lot of things but he hasn’t really been able to show off that style of play at Pitt. They’re more of a half-court set, conservative offense. But he can get to the rack. That’s what he was known for. He’s strong enough and quick enough to get to the basket. That’s his strength. He has to get back to doing that.
"But he also realizes you have to be a team player and he still put up his numbers. He’s learned to play within Pitt’s system."
I'm not buying that - you can play within a system and still drive to the rack. I have a hard time believing that Dixon would stop Gibbs from doing that. He's Pitt's best player and I'm sure has earned the trust of Dixon. I'm sure Dixon wouldn't even mind running a clear out for him at times. You only need to look back at Carl Krauser and even forward Sam Young to see that Dixon wouldn't prevent someone from driving to the lane and take his defender one-on-one.
Just doesn't make much sense to me.