Gibbs Most-Improved Big East Player

Sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) became the sixth Pitt player in the last 11 years to earn the Big East Most-Improved Player Award, the Conference office announced Monday following a vote by its 16 head coaches.

Other Pittsburgh players who earned the award during that span include Ricardo Greer (1999-00), Brandin Knight (2001-02), Carl Krauser (2003-04), Aaron Gray (2005-06) and Sam Young (2007-08).

An All-Big East Second-Team selection, Ashton Gibbs saw his scoring increase by 11.9 points per game from his freshman to sophomore seasons (4.3 in 2008-09 to 16.2 in 2009-10). He ranks among national leaders in scoring increase and rates as the second-highest yearly scoring jump in school history.

Pitt's Larry Harris increased his scoring by 15.0 points per game from 1974-75 season to 1975-76.

Gibbs is known for his clutch shooting. He dribbled down court and swished a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Providence March 4, and his 3-pointer with 26 seconds to go against West Virginia at the Petersen Events Center forced overtime. Pitt ended up winning, 98-95, in three overtimes.

A Bob Cousy Award candidate, Gibbs leads the Panthers in scoring (16.2 points epr game), minutes played (1,086), 3-point field goals (74), 3-point field goal percentage (40.4) and free-throw percentage (89.0).

Gibbs leads the Big East in free throw percentage and also ranks among Conference statistical leaders in scoring (12th), 3-point field goals made (4th) and 3-point field goal percentage (10th). On the year, Gibbs has scored more than 20 points 11 times, reached double figure scoring in 27 of 31 games and hit at least six 3-pointers four times (Providence, West Virginia, Syracuse and Binghamton).

Gibbs also set or tied two school records for free-throw shooting. His 46 consecutive free throws made earlier in the year established a new school record and his perfect 14-for-14 performance tied a school record for best percentage in a game.

No. 2-seeded Pitt (24-7, 13-5) opens Big East Championship competition on Thursday at 7 p.m., when it will play one of three potential opponents in quarterfinal action: No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 15 Providence or No. 10 Seton Hall. The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN.

The Big East also announced several other awards including the Defensive Player of the Year— Hamady Ndiaye, Rutgers; Sixth Man Award—Kris Joseph, Syracuse and Sportsmanship Award—Tory Jackson, Notre Dame.

PITT'S BIG EAST MOST-IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD WINNERS (2000-10)

Ricardo Greer, 1999-00, averaged 16.6 points, 7.4 rebounds per game

Brandin Knight, 2001-02, also named co-Big East Player of the Year

Carl Krauser, 2003-04, averaged 15.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game

Aaron Gray, 2005-06, 4.3 points, 2.8 rebounds per game in 2004-05 to 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game the next season

Sam Young, 2007-08, 7.2 points per game in 2006-07 to 18.1 points per game the next season

Ashton Gibbs, 2009-10, plus-11.9 points per game increase, All-Big East second-team selection

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