New Jersey high school senior Sterling Gibbs was all set to play basketball at the University of Maryland this fall. Then coach Gary Williams retired and Gibbs, one of the nation's best guards, asked to be released from his binding national letter of intent. The school obliged. This all happened last Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Adam Zagoria of the ZagsBlog reported that UConn assistant coach Kevin Ollie reached out to the Gibbs family.
“UConn called me last night for Sterling Gibbs,” New York Panthers coach Gary Charles said Sunday at the iS8/Nike Spring playoffs. “And obviously with Sterling being at Texas, it’s kind of hard for them to talk to him right now. The family said to me, ‘We have an interest.’ But they can’t concentrate on that right now. When they come back we’re going to talk some more about it. And I plan to talk to Coach [Jim] Calhoun tonight [Sunday] to get more information.”
No word on whether Charles spoke to Calhoun Sunday, but the Huskies are in Washington, D.C. today to be honored as national champs in a ceremony at the White House.
There will be a lot of competition for Gibbs. In addition to Texas, and UConn, Louisville, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Providence, Xavier and Texas Tech have all shown interest.
The one school that sticks out like a sore thumb: Providence, now home to UConn's best recruiter, former assistant coach Andre LaFleur, who left for Rhode Island last month. If the Friars were to land Gibbs (and let's be honest, that's a long shot, but still), it wouldn't look good for the Huskies. Not only because they couldn't keep LaFleur, but also because UConn needs depth at guard and Gibbs would likely get playing time as a freshman. Oh, and the Huskies are defending national champs. That should carry some weight in the recruiting battle, too.
Here's the scouting report on Gibbs, courtesy of ESPN.com:
Gibbs has gone from an undersized two-guard to a dependable point guard who sees the court, distributes the ball, can make plays for himself and others, and only occasionally gets caught up in working too hard for his own offense. He should be a great fit in Gary Williams' system at Maryland because he is extraordinarily hard-nosed and tough and equally effective on the defensive end of the floor.
This was written before Williams retired but that's not what sticks out in the last sentence. It's the part about "hard-nosed and tough and equally effective on the defensive end of the floor," which sounds exactly like the way the Huskies play basketball. Whether they actually land Gibbs, however, is a different story.
As it stands, Illinois' Mr. Basketball, guard Ryan Boatright, is the only high-profile incoming freshman and he will be counted on to contribute from day one.