|Gibbs creates a stir as Davidson Wildcats' basketball floor leader|
|Senior guard on national watch lists|
|Published Thursday, October 27, 2016 7:28 am|
|Davidson guard Jack Gibbs (12) averaged 23.5 points per guard last season as a junior.|
Jack Gibbs sets the tone for Davidson Wildcats basketball.
Last season, the guard led the Wildcats in scoring at 23.5 points per game in 31 games. Gibbs is also as popular among teammates as he is valuable.
“He makes you smile,” coach Bob McKillop said. “He makes you happy. He makes you love him.”
Said junior forward Peyton Aldridge, who averaged 15.5 points per game: “It’s just a joy to play with Jack. He’s always out on the court smiling and it is contagious. You see Jack smiling, you naturally just smile as well.”
Gibbs, a senior who lost 20 pounds in the offseason, has become part of the conversation for national awards, such as the Bob Cousy Award.
“I’m looking forward to being a better leader this year,” Gibbs said. “Brian [Sullivan, who graduated in the spring] was the vocal leader last year, and he’s doing great over in Germany.”
Said Aldridge: “He’s just such a great player. He can make plays for himself. He can make plays for others. It’s great to have him on your team.”
While Gibbs struggled with injury last season and suffered a left shoulder injury last week during practice, he pronounced himself ready to start the season Nov. 12. against Appalachian State.
“I kind of went down and it popped out,” Gibbs said. “I’ve been doing rehab, [and] had an x-ray. X-rays are negative, but right now, the plan is to be back for the first game, but there’s no timetable right now. We’re hopefully not going to have any more injuries, because we’re physically fit and conditioned.”
McKillop sees the better-conditioned Gibbs as a healthier Gibbs.
“It’ll make him quicker and keep him healthy,” McKillop said. “It’ll allow him to defend better.”
Davidson, which is entering its third season in the Atlantic 10 Conference, has concentrated on fine-tuning the defensive side during preseason.
“Layups and foul shots win championships,” McKillop said. “We need to be a great team defensively. We don’t have a sheriff on our team right now.”
Said Gibbs: “I’ve been in the system the longest, and Peyton being another captain, and Will Magarity [a junior forward] and Rusty [Reigel, a junior guard], we know that we need to be the vocal leaders, but more importantly, we need to lead by example on the court. If players see us slacking, they’re going to be like ‘well it’s OK for us to.’ That’s not the kind of atmosphere that we want to have in practice. We want to play hard every rep, and more importantly, play smart. I think we’ve done a good job of that so far.”
Davidson, which finished 20-13 last season, fell short of the previous season’s success when the Wildcats won the A-10 regular season title and earned the program’s first at-large NCAA tournament bid. They were picked fourth in the preseason poll, but it’s an incentive to succeed.
“There’s pressure no matter where we’re ranked,” McKillop said. “We determine what our level of expectation is.”
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