Taj Gibson Makes Decision

Taj Gibson left New York for California more than a year ago and the 6-foot-9 big man has opted to remain out that way.

UConn did the double-dip with Jerome Dyson and Jonathan Mandeldove. USC followed it up with a 1-2 punch of its own. First it was junior Daniel Hackett – and now it's New York native Taj Gibson.

The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Gibson, who spent last season at Stoneridge Prep (Calif.) under Ron Slater and also played with the Southern Cal All-Stars, apparently took a liking to the west coast.

``He verbally committed last night," Southern Cal All-Stars boss Pat Barrett said. "Tim Floyd did a great job recruiting Taj. He had a great home visit a couple weeks ago in New York with his mom and dad and they all felt comfortable."

``He's a very nice man," Sharon Gibson said. "He really is. He's going to take care of my son and he'll get what he needs academically."

Despite heavy interest from the likes of Pittsburgh, Louisville, Texas and South Florida, Gibson opted to commit to USC and first-year head coach Tim Floyd on Sunday.

``He just felt it was the best place for him," Barrett added. "Tim Floyd has put out seven or eight big guys in the NBA. He's got pro experience, USC has a new arena and he'll be around a support system he developed since he came out to California."

Gibson, who will go along with Slater to Calvary Christian (Calif.), is long and athletic, runs the floor, plays hard and is a big-time shot-blocker. He needs to get stronger, but he's progressed immensely since he made the move out west.

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