March 29, 2011
There's no downside to juniors seeking feedback from NBA teams on what areas of their game they need to improve, so Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs has decided to take advantage of the system.
Gibbs revealed Tuesday that he will enter the NBA draft, but he will not sign with an agent in order to preserve his college eligibility. The 6-foot-2 junior has until May 8 to withdraw his name from the draft and return for his senior season.
Before Pittsburgh fans get panicky at the thought of losing Gibbs a year earlier than expected, consider that the most likely outcome is he'll still be back on campus for his senior season.
Although Gibbs averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game this season for Big East regular-season champion Pittsburgh and shot a ridiculous 49 percent from 3-point range, there are concerns his game may not translate well at the NBA level. Not only does he struggle to get to the rim as easily as most pro guards, Gibbs also lacks the size NBA scouts look for in a shooting guard and the ball handling and distributing ability they want in a point guard.
Unless Gibbs showcases abilities during his workouts that he hasn't shown in college so far, his best chance to be a first-round pick is probably to work on those facets of his game this offseason and reenter the draft as a senior.
Jimmer Fredette, JaJuan Johnson and Talor Battle were among those to go through the draft process a year ago, return to school and parlay what they learned into excellent senior seasons. Expect Gibbs to follow in their footsteps next year.