Sterling Gibbs discusses UConn decision
The championship sales pitch is something Sterling Gibbs has grown accustom to hearing, but when the 6-foot-2 point guard visited UConn last week, the Huskies had more than a simple message to back it up.
"It was not just people telling you that you can go somewhere - they can prove it," Gibbs said.
But reminders of the four national championships were not the only things that sold Gibbs on becoming a Husky, which he announced via Twitter on Saturday afternoon. Everything just seem to feel right whether he was touring the school, meeting with coach Kevin Ollie and his staff, or just getting to know the other players.
"It was the best fit for me," said Gibbs, a fifth-year senior who also visited Pittsburgh and Ohio State after deciding to leave Seton Hall last month. "Coach Ollie is a great guy. He's not just a great coach, but he's a great person."
And the atmosphere that Ollie has created in three years at Storrs since replacing Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun further solidified Gibbs' decision to become a Husky.
"That's one of the things he really stressed - that no matter what happens, he has my back," said Gibbs, who left a Seton Hall program that reportedly had some internal friction during the past season.
On paper, Gibbs, who averaged 16.3 points and 3.8 assists last season at Seton Hall, seems a perfect fit at UConn, which could use some veteran point guard help with Ryan Boatright moving on after four seasons. Junior-to-be Terrence Samuel also announced two weeks ago he was transferring, so the Huskies were down to only incoming freshman Jalen Adams as a true point guard.
Gibbs, who played two years with Pirates and also one season at Texas, said he's looking forward to battling with Adams for the job.
"You always have to compete where ever you go," Gibbs said. "Jalen's a talented kid. We'll definitely be able to play together."
In addition Adams, UConn also has juniors Rodney Purvis and Sam Cassell Jr. returning along with senior Omar Calhoun in the backcourt. Purvis, who transferred from North Carolina State two years ago, helped sell Gibbs on becoming a Husky.
"I already knew Rodney a little bit," Gibbs said. "(It was great) going up and chilling with him. He talked about how they were like a family, a brotherhood, and everything."
After leaving Texas following his freshman season, Gibbs had the chance to be close to home the past three years - he sat out one due to NCAA transfer rules - playing in his home state of New Jersey. Gibbs doesn't have to sit out before playing at UConn since he was scheduled to graduate at Seton Hall today and the NCAA doesn't have restrictions for fifth-year players.
"It was really tough to leave Seton Hall," said Gibbs, who grew up in Scotch Plains, N.J. "My family lived 20 minutes way (from Seton Hall) and I had a lot of relationships with the players, coaches and students there."
Gibbs apparently made friends fast at UConn with multiple players following him on Twitter even before he announced he was coming to the school.
"I think we really have a lot of talent," said Gibbs, who plans to start summer classes at UConn next month.
The Huskies have found success before with fifth-year player additions under Ollie. Guard Lasan Kromah was part of the 2014 national championship team and R.J. Evans was on the 2013 squad. Next season the Huskies added another fifth-year player in forward Shonn Miller, who arrives from Cornell, plus have two freshmen in Adams and forward Steve Enoch.