Coming into this season, Fuquan Edwin was the face of Seton Hall basketball. The senior forward was supposed to be the team’s best player on both sides of the ball, and put forth an NBA-ready performance.
But the thing is, Sterling Gibbs joined the picture this year.
A redshirt sophomore transfer from Texas, Gibbs has exploded into a star in his first year running the Pirates offense. He leads the Pirates in scoring and assists, and has become the team’s primary playmaker offensively.
Now, that’s not to take anything away from Edwin, who missed some time with an ankle injury and has also had a decent season, himself. But Gibbs has become the best player in South Orange.
Gibbs is putting up about 16 points a game, and has broken the 20-point barrier in four contests this season. When the Pirates need a bucket, he’s the one that head coach Kevin Willard turns to.
Against Providence on New Year’s Day, Gibbs went to the line with 3.3 second left and the scoreboard reading 80-79 in favor of the Friars. No. 4 calmly knocked down both FTs and won the game, finishing with 15 points.
The older brother of Seton Hall’s standout guard is actually Ashton Gibbs, a former standout at Pitt. It appears that a yo-yo handle and smooth jumper runs in the family.
Already standing at 10-5 just two games into conference play, SHU probably isn’t going to make any noise this season. The team simply lacks the firepower to go toe-to-toe with Big East powerhouses like Creighton -- who just stomped Seton Hall by 23 points on January 4 -- and #11 Villanova.
But next season, this team should be the real deal.
The Pirates have a top-ten recruiting class coming in 2014, led by Isaiah Whitehead, whom ESPN ranks as the 20th best player in the nation and the fifth best shooting guard. The 6’4" Whitehead will be joined by Khadeen Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Loughlin), Angel Delgado (Bronx, N.Y./Huntington Prep) and Ismael Sanogo (Newark, N.J./East Side High School).
After this season, Gibbs has two more years of eligibility with the Pirates. Although the loss of Edwin will be tough next year, a truly special bunch of incoming freshmen could thrust Seton Hall back into Big East contention with Gibbs at the helm of the offense.
But that’s a long ways off -- right now SHU is faced with an extremely difficult road ahead. And there is no one the team would rather having running the point than Sterling Gibbs.