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The Seton Hall men’s basketball program suspended junior guard Sterling Gibbs for two games on Tuesday following his actions in Monday night’s loss to Villanova.
Gibbs, a junior was ejected in the 80-54 loss with 4:48 remaining after he struck the Wildcats’ Ryan Arcidiacono in the face.
“Sterling demonstrated poor sportsmanship last night, and he recognizes that what he did was wrong and that he must be held accountable for his actions,” head coach Kevin Willard said Tuesday in a statement. “This was out of Sterling’s character, and I believe this incident does not define the type of person he is or will become. Sterling will learn and grow from this unfortunate event.”
Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman issued a statement backing Seton Hall’s verdict on Gibbs’ punishment.
“We support Seton Hall’s decision to suspend Sterling Gibbs for his actions in the Villanova game,” she said Tuesday. “Unsportsmanlike acts like the one that occurred last night have no place in the Big East or college sports.”
(Arcidiacono) Getty Images
Gibbs apologized for his actions in a series of tweets immediately after the game, mentioning Arcidiacono twice.
“Man that’s not who I am,” the guard tweeted Monday night. “I’m sorry to my family, friends, fans and team for being an embarrassment. Even more sorry to (Arcidiacono). I let my emotions get the best of me and that wasn’t acceptable at all. I hope you’re alright and I will face any consequences coming. Sorry again (Arcidiacono). It really is weighing heavy on my heart.”
Arcidiacono, who also scored his 1000th career point the game, was accepting of Gibbs’ apology.
“Emotions sometimes get the best of us,” Arcidiacono wrote in a tweet in which he mentioned Gibbs. “Heat of the moment thing. We’re all good.”
As a result of the suspension, Gibbs will be inactive when the Pirates visit St. John’s on Saturday, Feb. 21 and host Creighton on Saturday, Feb. 28.
This latest occurrence is the most recent in a long line of distractions surrounding the Pirates in the past few weeks. Locker room issues were first made apparent when senior Brandon Mobley called out his teammates after SHU lost to Marquette at home on Feb. 7. In a story first reported by The Setonian, it was then discovered that a fight nearly broke out between Gibbs and freshman Isaiah Whitehead during a timeout in the Georgetown game on Feb. 10, a game the Pirates would lose.
The very next day news broke that Jaren Sina, a starter for every game other than the Georgetown contest, was transferring out of the program. Since then there have been reports that racism in the Seton Hall locker room led to his departure. Sina and his father, Mergin, strongly denied those reports.
Amid all of the controversy surrounding the team, some, like NJ.com’s Steve Politi, are saying that Willard should be on the hot seat. Even those who are not calling for his job are at least questioning whether or not Willard has control of his team. The fifth-year head coach continued to downplay issues regarding the Pirates’ chemistry after Monday’s loss.
“There’s no chaos outside the program,” he said to the media. “The only chaos is you guys.”
“Everything that’s out there, nothing has come from the program,” he added. “It’s a cohesive unit; we have a unit that is very frustrated to be losing.”
Ever since Sina’s parting, there has also been concern that others could follow suit. Whitehead, Angel Delgado and others recently made their allegiance to the Hall clear on social media.
A report from SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria on Tuesday claimed that, despite speculation, Gibbs does not plan to leave the program as a graduate transfer next year.
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.