In the film room…Temple ‘TJ’ Gibbs
From the line of Gibbs brothers who have peppered the Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) record books for the better part of the last decade, Temple “TJ” Gibbs became Notre Dame’s first piece to its 2016 recruiting puzzle with his verbal commitment this past weekend.
Gibbs – the younger brother of former standouts Ashton (Pittsburgh) and Sterling (Texas, Seton Hall) – chose the Fighting Irish over programs such as Virginia, Connecticut, Georgetown, Providence, Iowa, Oklahoma and St. John’s.
As a junior, he averaged 19.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game for Seton Hall Prep. He’ll arrive a year after the enrollment of the three-man class of 6-foot-5, 185-pound Rex Pflueger (Santa Ana, Calif.), 6-foot-7 ½, 220-pound Matt Ryan (New Rochelle, N.Y.) and 6-foot-7, 225-pound Elijah Burns.
Notre Dame offered Gibbs a scholarship in February, and the 6-foot-3 (probably closer to 6-foot-2), 185-pounder (probably closer to 170-175) chose to follow the path that junior-to-be Demetrius Jackson and sophomore-to-be Matt Farrell chose with the Irish.
Gibbs is a true combination guard with jump-shooting prowess, penetration skills and an eye out for getting the ball in the hands of his teammates, particularly once he slashes through the lane, which he does willingly and frequently.
He’s not the physical presence Jackson is and does not have Jackson’s sheer athleticism/leaping ability. But he is a true technician around the basket with an array of finishing touches at the tin that allow him to navigate through the trees and score on both sides of the bucket with either hand.
Everything he puts up on the rim is soft, soft, soft. From his quiet jump shot with good extension to his navigation through the lane, Gibbs has a deft touch that allows the basketball to nestle through the rim. Rarely will you see any of Gibbs’ shots bang off the iron. He sets the basketball on the rim as much as he shoots at it.
This is a prospect with a true inside-outside game. He shows the ability to accurately shoot jump shots off the dribble to his left, off the dribble to his right, and in a catch-and-shoot mode in transition. His body control inside the lane is outstanding. He’s not going to finish up/on the rim the way Jackson can, but he knows how to control his body and allow gravity to take care of the basketball on the iron.
From the free-throw line, what you see with his jumper applies. Good rotation, soft and quiet. It would be a surprise if he were not an 80 percent-plus free-throw shooter long term.
Areas where Gibbs will need to improve include strength and fortifying his body for the rigors of the college game. He is a fairly slightly built young man at the present time, like most prep point guards. He’s not a great leaper per se. He’ll need the armor, particularly for a player who likes to attack the lane the way he does.
In AAU competition – where attention to detail has a tendency to wane on all levels – he can be a bit loose with the basketball driving to the bucket in terms of protecting it with one hand as opposed to two.
An area where we have an incomplete picture of his game is on the defensive end. There simply isn’t enough defensive footage to make an accurate assessment on that end of the floor, which is where a lack of overall physical strength will show itself. Jackson’ ability to defend the dribble just past the midcourt line was a significant factor in Notre Dame’s recent run to the Elite Eight. Gibbs does not have that kind of explosive strength at the present time.
There’s the chance Jackson could have a dynamic junior season and consider leaving the program for the NBA after three years. Gibbs may play with Jackson for a year or not at all, which would leave the backcourt in the hands of Steve Vasturia, Farrell, Pflueger and Gibbs.
Rated the No. 1 point guard in New Jersey, the nation’s No. 11 point guard, and the No. 57 overall prospect in the country by Scout, this truly is a four-star catch for the Irish.