Ashton Gibbs Takes On Portsmouth Invitational Tonight

Ashton Gibbs' road to the NBA Draft begins in earnest tonight (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Ashton Gibbs suits up tonight to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia. There, he'll be looking to showcase some skills in hopes of getting some NBA scouts to take notice.

One of the things Gibbs will need to demonstrate? Ball-handling skills:

Do some of the PIT's smallish guards, straight shooters in college, have the ball-handling skills they'll need to get a next-level shot? Exhibit A: Pitt's Ashton Gibbs.

This has been something that's been discussed ever since he was contemplating the draft last year, before he eventually decided to return.

Here's a brief look at Gibbs' game tonight as well as what the future may hold for him.

The teams have only eight players, so Gibbs should have plenty of chances to show what he can do. He'll be playing alongside Kyle Kuric (Louisville), Juan Fernandez (Temple), and Kim English (Missouri) in the backcourt. Gibbs will play against some familiar faces in Cincinnati's Yancy Gates and Seton Hall's Jordan Theodore.

No one ever knows how these things will turn out, but this is a fresh start of sorts for Gibbs. He'll be playing in front of scouts that may not have paid close attention to his disappointing season. Gibbs will not only need one very good game, but a few in order to turn some heads - and that will be to merely get his foot in the door.

Getting drafted is a long shot for him, but all you need to do is get one interested team. The more attainable route is probably to latch onto a team as a free agent and impress them during the NBA's summer league games. One team that might be a fit for Gibbs?

The Wizards.

According to this article, the Wizards:

At 6-foot-2, Gibbs lacks the height to be a pure off-guard, but he picked up experience running an offense this season and there is no doubt he can knock down perimeter shots. If the Wizards choose to go with Jordan Crawford as the starter opposite John Wall, Gibbs could provide a Crawford-level scoring punch off the bench but in a much, much more disciplined manner.

NBA.com also chimes in with an assessment of Gibbs:

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh -- Gibbs flirted with the NBA following an extremely productive junior season for the Panthers in which he averaged 16.8 points and shot a blistering 49 percent from three-point range. Forced to play out of position for much of his senior season, Gibbs never got it going, shooting a career-low 35 percent from distance, as the Panthers missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade. His game is predicated on making shots. When he does that, he has some upside as a designated shooter off the bench, in the mold of a Roger Mason or Gary Neal.

Trying to figure out where Gibbs could land is a crap shoot at this point, obviously. But if he can prove he can knock down the open shot (something that, contrary to the article, he didn't show this season with great consistency), then there are teams that could potentially use him.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt football and basketball.

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