I'll admit I was a bit surprised to see that. Still, Basketball Prospectus in its ranking of the top 100 college basketball players rated Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs as 16th best. Not the 16th best guard - the 16th best overall player.
Gibbs is good, no doubt, so it's not like I have a problem with rating Gibbs that high. And with Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, and Gary McGhee gone, Gibbs will be relied on for even more production this season. Still, even while ranking him that highly, the writer has his reservations:
16. Ashton Gibbs, Pitt (Sr., PG)
It's not a great sign for the Big East that Gibbs is my pick for preseason conference Player of the Year. There's not a strong argument for anyone but Gibbs as the best returning shooter in the country, though John Jenkins and Kevin Foster should probably at least be mentioned. That said, Gibbs isn't a great defender, doesn't have much of a slasher game, and wants to use this year to demonstrate to NBA scouts that he can be a true point guard. Talib Zanna, Dante Taylor, J.J. Moore, and Nasir Robinson may be a good enough surrounding cast for Gibbs to make Pitt a tough team again in a weaker Big East. That is a team, though, that needs Gibbs to be both a featured scorer and a successful distributor. If he can adjust to getting open shots with Moore and Robinson getting him the ball (instead of a great passer like Brad Wanamaker), he could have an incredible season. But I still have unanswered questions.
Best shooter in the country? I'm not inclined to disagree, but to say there's not even a strong argument for anyone else is interesting. I don't know if Gibbs is head and shoulders better than anyone else, but just goes to show you what kind of respect he is commanding.
If he lives up to that rating, that would put Gibbs in All-America territory and that doesn't seem all that far fetched.