It is just about 5 months until the beginning of the NCAA basketball season and teams have retooled their rosters during the offseason. Teams like Duke and UNC have received the cream of the crop in recruiting as always, but other teams have also been trying their best to make their teams better.
The main goal of any season is to win a conference championship, and then play for the national championship and bring that trophy back to campus. This coming season the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try and do both. They have added a guard with great skills in Temple Gibbs Jr.
Notre Dame made it deep in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament last season with a trip to the elite 8, but they ran into a juggernaut in UNC. During the tournament Notre Dame would not blow out teams in route to tougher matchups, but they would barely grab a victory.
It was only a matter of time before they ran into a team that would knock them out by a large margin.
Playing in close games does give a team experience in those situations, however they need to learn how to pull away from their opponents. The players they had gave them a shot, but this new addition in Gibbs can put them over the top.
These are some of the skills that Gibbs brings to the table.
Gibbs is comfortable moving with or without the ball. That is a key attribute to have as a young player because it can open the floor for his other teammates to score. When he does have the ball he can score off the dribble.
He moves like a traditional guard and is careful with the ball. He also knows how to attack the rim when he finds a path to the basket. Gibbs can also be a spot up shooter if necessary, and the way he moves without the ball he can create open shots for himself.
Being able to drive to the rim at will and shoot 3’s makes him versatile on offense and that is the type of player every team needs.
The type of court vision that Gibbs has will be a big asset to him at the college level. The way he find openings on the court to begin his drive to the basket makes him a hard defensive assignment.
The last thing defenders want to do is let Gibbs blow past them, but with his quickness that is a high probability. His court vision can also help him on defense as well as offense.
He will improve as he gets to the college level and playing in the Notre Dame program should help him mature as an athlete. Other ACC teams will have a problem defending him especially if he improves on the skills he already has.
Gibbs has the opportunity to prove that he can be better than most of the top names of his recruiting class. He can dominate with a 6’3 190lbs frame in high school, but when he gets on the court for the Fighting Irish he will have to show that his game is superior to whoever he faces. In division 1 basketball players move much quicker and use more force going to the rim and Gibbs has what it take to be that type of player.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
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