Ashton Gibbs, the Panthers leading scorer (16.7 ppg), declared for the NBA Draft today but didn’t hire an agent.
Gibbs has been a great perimeter player in the Panthers system who has worked hard on his skills. He came into the program with just an outside game. He has worked on his mid-range game and driving to the basket in his tenure. His mid-range game has improved greatly since his freshman year, but he has yet to show he can take it to the basket consistently.
He isn’t the type of player you can give the ball to at the end of the game and expect him to make things happen. He isn’t a one-on-one player so he can’t create his own shot. He HAS to rely on his teammates for screens to get open looks.
Teams figured out that he is still just a perimeter shooter. They hugged him, followed him around screens tightly and played up to force the drive but it rarely came. In the biggest game of the year against Butler, Gibbs only took one three pointer. He finished 5-7 from the floor for 11 points. He knew they were keying on him defensively so he did a nice job seeking teammates for 4 assists. He shoots 48 percent from three and he got just one shot? I credit the defense, but also am disappointed that he couldn’t create more. There were points during the season where he would be invisible in late stretches of the game. This is something he could work on in school.
I can’t see him starting in the NBA without him being capable of driving to the hoop. His size is a major problem for an NBA guard who just shoots. But, maybe the most important thing is his release which could be blocked on any given attempt. When he shoots he stays relatively close to the ground compared to other guards in the NBA. He will be going up against guards who are 6’5 or above in some cases and that wouldn’t bode well.
He needs to stay at Pitt and show people he can be the guy you can go to down the stretch. He will NEED to be that guy if Pitt wants to make the NCAA Tournament so that would be a perfect test for him.
I am expecting to hear that Gibbs will be returning to Pittsburgh next season. It would be hard to believe he would be anything more than a second round pick at best. Expect Gibbs to return to school because that would be the best option for him.
About the Author
Written by Justin Welton
Born in Franklin, PA. Life-long Pittsburgh sports fan + Boston Celtics. Attending Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Working for WCUC - 91.7 and WCUB-TV. Clarion Call writer for two years.