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Combination of Gibbs and Sina key for the Pirates this season

Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor

Let’s take a journey back to that fateful night at Madison Square Garden. A night many of us will never forget. Junior guard Sterling Gibbs and sophomore guard Jaren Sina etched their names into Seton Hall basketball lore after their clutch shots propelled the Pirates to an upset win over then third-ranked Villanova. “Step back,” Sterling and Sina are back with even bigger roles for head coach Kevin Willard’s team this season.

In last year’s Big East tournament that saw the Pirates go all the way to the semifinals, Gibbs and Sina played the majority of their minutes together and it paid huge dividends. With the young backcourt pieces coming in this season, the onus will be on Gibbs and Sina to provide leadership, solid play and set a good example for the freshmen to follow.

“It is huge for Sterling and I to have taken that leadership role,” Sina said. “It has made us a more effective team and it has helped us mature quicker.”

Freshmen guards including Isaiah Whitehead and Khadeen Carrington will be look to Gibbs and Sina for knowledge, but also help dealing with the transition to college basketball.

“We want to show these guys what to expect, what to do and how to carry themselves,” Gibbs said. “We want to lead on the court, but at the same time lead by example.”

Gibbs and Sina plan to help facilitate the process of giving these talented guards a major role on this team, but make no mistake, they plan on making a huge impact on the court too.

The duo have improved their games during the offseason and will look to showcase them this year.

“The biggest thing I improved on was getting into lanes and finishing a little bit more at the basket,” Sina said. “By being crafty and finding ways to score from floaters.”

With Gibbs, it’s about being more consistent as an overall player and with Sina on the court. The two will be asked to keep the intensity up for a full 40 minutes, every game.

Coach Willard has Gibbs and Sina together for many reasons: The biggest is the fact that they play well together and it gives the Hall the best chance to win.

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“We are both able to do different things,” Gibbs said. “He (Sina) shoots the ball really well and I get others involved.”

Gibbs and Sina will be playing a lot with Whitehead. The pair believes that this lineup will cause other teams major problems defensively.

“We have more threats on the court that can pass and shoot and it opens it up for each and every guy.” Sina said.

It also helps when two of the most important players on a team not only play well together, but also enjoy each other’s company on and off the court. Such is the case with Seton Hall’s duo.

“It has been great, off the court we are best friends and we have good chemistry out there,” Sina said.

That chemistry started to form last year before the season even started for the backcourt-mates.

“We got to know each other last year and created a bond because we were roommates,” Gibbs said. “And now, it’s even better because we know that we are going to have to be leaders on this team.”

From the very beginning, the Pirates seemed to know that the Gibbs and Sina relationship would work out and it has begun to blossom. For the blue and white to have a successful 2014-15 campaign, Gibbs and Sina will have to be on their games. On the floor, the Pirates could be very scary for other teams when the two are playing at a high level.

Sean Saint Jacques can be reached at sean.saintjacques@student.shu.edu or on twitter @SSaintj7.

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