Four-star guard TJ Gibbs to visit OU

Highly ranked combo guard comes to campus this weekend alongside potential backcourt mate

Temple (TJ) Gibbs is well versed in Big East Conference basketball. Both of his brothers have played in the league.

He’s made visits to Providence, Georgetown, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s and is planning a trip to Notre Dame in the next few weeks. He hopes to go to VCU soon too after a recent offer from the Rams.

This weekend though, he’s making the trip to Norman for a visit with Oklahoma and coach Lon Kruger.

“I’m looking forward to just seeing everything and finally getting to really sit down with coach and just talk face to face,” Gibbs said. “We’ve been talking a lot over the phone. It’s nothing compared to actually sitting down and actually talking face-to-face in his office.”

Gibbs, a 6-foot-3, 4-star combo guard, said Kruger was in Virginia this past weekend to watch him play on the AAU circuit. Gibbs emerged on the national scene last summer when he averaged 14.2 points per game and shot nearly 50 percent from the field.

He is the 58th overall player in the 2016 class.

Oklahoma’s style of play and his relationship with Kruger has Gibbs willing to take the trip out of Big East country.

“I understand that I may not be home for certain holidays or birthdays, but I know that once I get to Oklahoma or wherever I go, it’s going to feel just like a family,” said Gibbs, who has not narrowed down his search yet. “That’s what I’m looking for. No matter the distance, it’s still going to be a family to me. I’m not going to be with my parents, but I’m still not going to be alone or by myself.”

Gibbs watched current Oklahoma star Isaiah Cousins while Cousins was playing at nearby Mt. Vernon in high school. Cousins is one of Gibbs’ favorite players and watched Cousins and Buddy Hield play off each other this season.

He’ll be on campus this weekend with his potential running mate for the next four years as well. Oklahoma 2016 point guard commit Payton Pritchard, who Gibbs played with during an all-star game, will be making another visit to the Norman campus.

“I’m looking forward to meeting back up with him this weekend and really getting to know him more – seeing if he’s the type of kid that I would want to be with and be around and build a team with,” Gibbs said. “. . . Once he gets there and if I go there, I know he’s going to be able to knock down shots. I have the utmost confidence in him. Hopefully, he has that in me too.”

Gibbs said the Sooners coaching staff have told him that he’ll play a combo guard position – able to have the ball in his hands on occasion but also playing off the ball with a chance to knock down shots.

It’s a similar role to Cousins, who Gibbs would have an immediate chance to replace after Cousins graduates after next season.

He’s also been told that he’ll need to work. Gibbs doesn’t mind that, either.

“That’s something that I really pride myself on, knowing that everything I get there, I’m going to have to earn myself,” he said. “I like that. That’s what motivates me right now, to keep working hard. That way when I do make that transition, it’s that much easier.”

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