Gibson has a ton of upside

There hasn't been a ton written about Taj Gibson, but that could change. He isn't yet an elite prospect, but he does have the type of athleticism and upside that could elevate him to a higher status.

Part of Gibson's mystery is the fact that he has already reclassified from the class of 2005 to 2006. In addition to that he was home schooled for much of his life before moving from Brooklyn to California to attend Stoneridge Prep.

Gibson played for the SoCal All-Stars last year and returns to the talent laden squad. When we saw him last year he showed flashes, but this summer he has made a vast improvement. He still isn't a finished product, but he is a 6-9, athletic forward. He has good hops and can really finish around the basket.

A number of teams are recruiting him. He listed Cincinnati, then became more vague by just stating "a lot of Big East and ACC teams". He added Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford as the West Coast schools he has been hearing from.

He is one of the rare players who has moved from the East to prep in the West. Usually it's the other way around. He has gotten to play on both sides of the country and can compare the two styles of basketball each coast displays.

"The west has a lot of high jumpers," Gibson said. "The east is a lot of dribbling one-on-one."

We spoke with Gibson last fall and he was a bit on the cocky side. Nothing too far out of line, but he was a confident kid. This summer he still seems confident, but he is realistic. He knows there are aspects to his game that he needs to improve.

"I need to work on my jump shot and my ball handling skills," Gibson admitted.

Last summer he considered himself one of the best big men in his class. He really wasn't overly impressed by the other bigs he played against in the 2006 class. Now he thinks he has a chance to be a three on the next level. He says that a lot of colleges like him as a wing. He has even started to compare himself to one pro small forward.

"I like to see myself as Tayshaun Prince," Gibson explained. "Maybe without the shooting, but I get up and down the court and I finish. Most of the colleges are talking about moving me to the three."

It remains to be seen if Gibson is really a three or a four, but he does have ability. He'll play inside during the AAU season, but he'll have a chance to showcase some of the skills to play the wing over the course of the summer. He'll also have the chance to impress top-tier programs and solidify his status in the 2006 class.

E-mail Brad at bradallis@msn.com


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