It looks like another Seton Hall starter is bolting from South Orange, N.J.
Sterling Gibbs, eligible to play immediately, will transfer out of the Pirates’ men’s basketball program. The news was first reported by Alex Kline of TheRecruitScoop.com on Tuesday and later confirmed by the school.
“We appreciate everything Sterling has done for our program over the last three years and wish him all the best as he pursues a Master’s degree at another university,” head coach Kevin Willard said in a statement.
A second-team All-Big East selection this past season, Gibbs’ departure is a blow for the Hall. He led the blue and white in points (16.3) and assists (3.8) per game and shot 43.6 percent from deep during the 2014-15 campaign while averaging 33.7 minutes a contest.
No stranger to the transfer process, Gibbs came to Seton Hall after leaving the University of Texas following the 2011-12 season. This time he will not have to sit out a year, as Gibbs is a graduate student, though he cannot go to another Big East school in compliance with conference rules..
A Seton Hall Prep standout, Gibbs is not the first Pirate to jump ship in the last year. Fellow guard Jaren Sina, a friend and former roommate of Gibbs, left the program in February and recently committed to George Washington. In addition, Seton Hall has also lost seniors Stephane Manga, Brandon Mobley and Haralds Karlis.
The move should not come as a surprise, as it was a tumultuous season plagued by a rough losing stretch and locker room controversy for Gibbs and the rest of the Pirates roster. Still, following SHU’s loss in the Big East Tournament, it seemed as if Gibbs could be back.
“I’m at Seton Hall and that’s where I’m going to be,” he told SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria at time. “That’s where I’m going to finish it out.”
Less than 24 hours before news of his transfer broke, Gibbs tweeted “A lot of emotions man.”
Gibbs’ Seton Hall career was balanced with plenty of highs and lows. He was suspended for a game during the 2013-14 season for disciplinary reasons but then went on to shock the college basketball world when he nailed a step-back buzzer beater to beat Villanova in the Big East Tournament that same year. This past season saw Gibbs get off to a hot start that included a 40 point game and had many saying his name in early conference Player of the Year talks, but eventually calamity hit him and the rest of the Pirates. Once again playing against Villanova, Gibbs then lost his cool on Feb. 16 and struck the Wildcats’ Ryan Arcidiacono. The incident resulted in a two-game suspension for Gibbs.
Now he is looking for a fresh start somewhere else.
“We didn’t want to do this, but it was just a tough situation,” Temple Gibbs, Sterling’s father, told Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press. “It was something he felt he had to do for his state of mind.”
With Gibbs gone, rising sophomore Isaiah Whitehead is now the undisputed leader of the Pirates. Seton Hall will need another guard to replace Gibbs, as the roster’s back court is rather empty outside of the former McDonald’s All-American, Khadeen Carrington and incoming freshman sharpshooter Dalton Soffer. The Pirates list Ismael Sanogo as a guard, but at 6-foot, 7-inches he is truly a forward best suited for the three spot.
Gary Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.