Countdown to 2015–16: Jack Gibbs is Alley Whoops’ pick for Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year

Photo courtesy of Davidson Athletics

Height: 6–0
Weight: 175 pounds
Year: Junior
2014–15 stats: 16.2 points, 4.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 48% FG, 43% 3FG, named second team Atlantic-10.
Fun Fact: Gibbs is one of four players from Ohio on Davidson’s roster—all of whom started a season ago
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It’s kind of his team now.

This is the way Steph Curry describes Jack Gibbs’s role as point guard, as Gibbs heads into his junior year at Davidson.

Gibbs has certainly provided the production to merit that assessment, provided by the NBA’s reigning MVP after a game late last March. Despite missing seven games to injury in 2014–15, Gibbs finished just 10 assists behind Tyler Kalinoski for the team lead. He also finished second in points behind Kalinoski, who would be named the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year.

Not that Gibbs cares much about individual awards. What makes Davidson’s motion offense perenially one of the best in Division I is the selflessness of its practioners. Efficiency is reached through pinpoint passing, provided by selfless practioners. Good shots inevitably arise from such a system. Should Gibbs drive into the lane, his head is always on a swivel. He might kick to senior guard Brian Sullivan for a three; maybe he’ll spot senior swingman Jordan Barham cutting baseline for an alley-oop jam.

Last fall, neither Kalinoski nor Gibbs was named to an A-10 preseason all-conference team. In fact, Davidson was picked to finish 12th out of 14 teams in its maiden voyage through the league.

Gibbs helped lead the Wildcats to that mightily impressive 24-win season, which led to the A-10 regular season title and first at-large NCAA tournament bid in program history.

When Gibbs is running the show, and the Davidson O is firing on all cylinders, there are traces of former Duke star Jay Williams in Gibbs’s ability to break defenses down off the dribble. He can score with the best, inside and out, and his decision-making bears the standard Davidson stamp of efficiency. In ‘14–15, Gibbs’s assist-to-turnover ratio was over 2:1, as was the same with Kalinoski and Sullivan, the other two lead guards.

Should Gibbs play to his potential, and as one of four starters returning in ‘15–16, there is no reason to think that he won’t, he will be a worthy contender for the conference’s top individual honor. In fact, this could be one of the strongest teams in Davidson history.

Gibbs has cited the program-changing run to the Elite Eight in ’08, led by the kid Curry. These current Cats have a real chance of advancing to the second weekend next spring, thanks in large part to another charismatic, capable guard.

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops