Ashton Gibbs' disappointing regular season came to an end and you've got to think he's glad it has.
Gibbs was in a difficult position from the very beginning. By testing the NBA waters, it was pretty clear that he would have rather taken off. Had he been able to become a first round pick, there's little debate in my mind that we would have seen the last of him in a Pitt uniform after last year's Butler game.
Instead, without the guarantee of being a high daft pick (or any draft pick, for that matter), Gibbs was forced to come back for his senior season. And as we saw, that didn't work out so well.
Those that argued he should go anyway did so because he wasn't going to suddenly sprout a few more inches and it would be nearly impossible to duplicate the success he had in shooting the ball last year. But Gibbs could have improved his stock even if his shooting slipped a bit. If he had improved his defense and ability to create his own shot, things would have been just fine. Unfortunately, neither happened and on top of that, his shot completely disappeared.
His reward? Going from the Preseason Player of the Year to an Honorable Mention at season's end. Out of all of this, we've learned one important thing about Gibbs.Gibbs isn't (right now, anyway) the type of player that is capable of carrying a team. Playing on a team with guys like Brad Wanamaker, Gilbert Brown, and Gary McGhee he excelled. The interesting thing is that he was still probably Pitt's best player with all of those teammates around. But without their help on the offensive end, he's struggled mightily.
How badly? His shooting has dipped below 40% after he hit nearly 47% of his shots last year. His three-point shooting has taken a huge hit as he made a career-low 33% (down from nearly 50% last year). Gibbs' free-throw shooting is also down while his turnovers are up.
For the time being, Gibbs is the type of player that would thrive with help. That type of help wouldn't have helped him him hit a wide open jump shot, but he would have had a better season in my opinion with another scorer or two on this team. J.J. Moore didn't give him the help that was expected and with Tray Woodall missing so many games, there just wasn't enough offensive help.
All of that said, let's not lose our heads. Gibbs has still been one of the best scorers in recent memory for Pitt and the program was clearly better for having him around.