By Jon Rothstein
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Sterling Gibbs has decided to come home. The former Seton Hall Prep point guard opted to transfer from Texas to Seton Hall on Thursday, giving the Pirates the type of point guard they've desperately been craving.
Under normal circumstances, Gibbs would have to sit out next season but he is expected to apply for a waiver to play immediately due to an illness in the family.
Here are five questions following Sterling Gibbs decision to transfer to Seton Hall:
1. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO NEXT YEAR'S TEAM?
An awful lot if Gibbs gets a waiver to play immediately. A pass first point guard with solid range, Gibbs isn't an explosive athlete but is still crafty enough as a floor general to instantly make the Pirates' offense go. Kevin Willard has assembled a team with good size and skill around Gibbs, highlighted by a trio of solid wings in Brian Oliver, Fuquan Edwin, and Haralds Karlis. Combo guard Aaron Cosby also is in the mix on the perimeter and should be better as a sophomore and Brandon Mobley and Patrik Auda should both be assets up front because of their decision making and ability to bring opposing big men away from the basket. The key is getting all those pieces to play with a quality point guard. If Gibbs is cleared, the final piece to the Pirates' puzzle will be solved --- at least for the 2012-13 season.
2. WHO WILL BE SETON HALL'S POINT GUARD NEXT YEAR IF GIBBS DOESN'T GET A WAIVER?
Most likely Freddie Wilson. While he wasn't overwhelming as a freshman, Wilson played solid minutes behind Jordan Theodore off the bench and showed the capabilities of running a team soundly without being overly aggressive. However, being thrusted into the starting lineup next season probably isn't the best thing for Wilson or Seton Hall but the Pirates may not have a choice if Gibbs isn't given a waiver. Incoming recruit Tom Maayan is also a possibility but a recent ACL injury leaves his status for next season somewhat uncertain.
3. HOW DOES THE ADDITION OF GIBBS AFFECT 2013 RECRUIT AQUILLE CARR?
Not at all. Gibbs is more of a traditional floor general while Carr is an electric guard that is undersized but more of a scorer than a facilitator. With the onus that Willard puts on spacing and maximizing dribble penetration to find open shots in the schemes of an offense, there's a good bet you'll see these two on the floor a great deal once Carr steps on campus after next season.
4. WHAT SHOULD A SETON HALL FAN EXPECT NEXT SEASON?
If they have Gibbs in the lineup, the Pirates should be in the middle of the pack in the Big East. If they don't, things are still yet to be determined. Once Gibbs can play, he instantly becomes Seton Hall's go to ball handler and drastically changes the landscape for this team. If he doesn't receive a waiver, someone else is going to get the opportunity of a lifetime to play major minutes for the Pirates at point guard next season in the Big East Conference.
5. DOES SETON HALL NEED TO TAKE TRANSFERS TO BE COMPETITIVE?
There's no question that the Pirates have to find unconventional ways to build their roster. It's going to be very difficult for Seton Hall to get Top 100 kids to go to South Orange out of high school so they have to be regularly open to taking transfers. Former coach Bobby Gonzalez was probably unfairly criticized for how aggressive he was in going after high level transfers but in essence, he didn't have a choice. As this new Pirates regime has shown by already taking three transfers in Oliver, Gibbs, and Eugene Teague, to win at Seton Hall you're going to have to be open to landing talent in different ways. You're going to have to add kids from overseas and you're going to have to get under the radar talent and develop it, which Seton Hall did last season with Mobley and Cosby.
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