Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall's leading scorer this past season, announces his intent to transfer and use final year of eligibility next season. (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)
Just when Seton Hall thought their nightmare of a season was finally over, bad news has once again reared its ugly head in South Orange.
Sterling Gibbs, the Pirates' leading scorer and floor general from the point guard position, today revealed his decision to transfer from Seton Hall, as initially reported by Alex Kline of Rivals.com and The Recruit Scoop. Gibbs will be a fifth-year senior next season, and thus will be immediately eligible for whomever he commits to.
"We appreciate everything Sterling has done for our program over the last three years," head coach Kevin Willard stated in a university-issued release, "and wish him all the best as he pursues a Masters degree at another university."
A second team all-Big East and MBWA honoree, Gibbs averaged 16.3 points and 3.8 assists per game to go with 44 percent shooting from three-point range, each statistic good enough for the team lead. But a combination of a young team struggling with newfound adversity, coupled with ongoing friction caused by a divide among the upperclassmen and freshmen on the roster saw Seton Hall limp down the stretch to finish 16-15 after starting the season 12-2, soaring as high as the No. 19 ranking in the Associated Press poll. During that span, highly touted rookie Isaiah Whitehead missed several weeks with a foot injury, and sophomore shooting guard Jaren Sina ultimately left the team in mid-February, citing "untenable" locker room conditions. Sina has since transferred to George Washington.
Gibbs was expected to once again be the face of the program, along with Whitehead and Big East Rookie of the Year Angel Delgado, as the Pirates entered Willard's sixth season eager to live up to the hype laid before them. However, all that stands ahead of Seton Hall now is disarray, an all too familiar feeling around the program that reached its high point on February 16, when Gibbs' forearm strike to the face of Villanova's Ryan Arcidiacono earned him a two-game suspension and raised further questions about supposed team chemistry issues.
"We didn't want to do this, but it was a tough situation," Gibbs' father, Temple, said shortly after news of his son's decision became public. "It was something he felt he had to do for his state of mind."