Last week, Jonathan mentioned briefly that Ashton Gibbs was named as a candidate for the 2011-12 Wooden Award given to the top player in college basketball. ESPN's Andy Katz has an article up quoting coaches (anonymously) on each of the 50 players nominated.
Here's what one of the coaches said about Gibbs ...
"He's a great shooter. With Brad Wanamaker gone, he'll have the ball in his hands even more. He won't be just a receiver. He'll be much more of a playmaker. One of the most underrated players in the country."
Interesting to see how much of a playmaker he becomes. Gibbs will have a much better shot at getting a look in the NBA if he can prove he can play the point. I'd never say that Gibbs couldn't do anything, but on paper, he lacks the ideal size to adequately defend taller guards in the pros. So if he can become a scoring point guard in the pros (and he's been able to do that in college, obviously, he should be an attractive option for a second-round (or maybe even late first-round) draft pick.
I've said for a long time that I want Jamie Dixon to play Gibbs at the two, which is really his best position offensively. But he's done a good job at point guard and if he wants to get some more work in there to help prepare him for the NBA, I think Pitt owes him that. i wouldn't keep him there to the detriment of the team, but I've got no problem with him playing there partially this season.
Even if he plays shooting guard this season, Gibbs can still improve his stock by taking defenders off the dribble rather than 'settling' for jumpers (and, trust me, it's hard to say he settles for shooting jump shots when he's hitting 47% of his field goal attempts). Should be interesting to see how much, if any, Gibbs' game changes this season.