Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Basketball

Gibbs Leading and Mentoring

January 4, 2019

Notre Dame (10-4, 0-1) will look to get to .500 in ACC play as Syracuse (9-4, 0-0) comes to Purcell Pavilion on Saturday afternoon for a Noon tip. 

Junior guard TJ Gibbs is well-aware of Mike Brey’s youth movement as the Irish have experienced growing pains over the first two months of the season, but he’s also confident with Notre Dame playing at home. 

“That’s one thing we’ve always been is confident at home whether it was having Illinois or DePaul come here,” explained Gibbs. “We’ve played some pretty good teams here. Part of our identity is protecting our home court. 

“We know this will be a new challenge we haven’t seen before, but it’s something we’re ready for and I know Coach will have us ready to attack that zone.” 

Speaking of the Syracuse 2-3 zone, Notre Dame has been up and down against zone defenses this year, but they have the shooters to give the Orange problems. 

Gibbs knows Syracuse’s zone isn’t like any other as they will be aggressive and extend it further out than most teams. 

“How far the wings are up - it almost looks like they are playing man,” Gibbs said of the challenge of playing Syracuse. “They will be in every gap and lane. We have to find the right seams and right way to attack it. Every play will  be different.”

The New Jersey native will be counted on more than ever to score on Saturday and that shouldn’t be a problem as Gibbs is averaging 14.5 points per game.

However, Gibbs will need help and getting point guard Prentiss Hubb going would help the Irish offense immensely. 

“Everyone may think PHubb may be struggling but I have the utmost trust in him and I know what he can do,” stated Gibbs. “This team has all the confidence in the world in him. He's a great player and a great kid.” 

Gibbs may know more than anyone about the struggles Hubb is facing as a true freshman playing significant minutes. Two years ago, Gibbs found himself in a similar situation and relied on an older presence to guide him through the season.

“It’s similar to what I went through my freshman year,” Gibbs said. “Having Matt (Farrell) by my side was the biggest help and support I needed. That’s what I’m trying to do for Prentiss. We know he can play and make plays. We’re not worried about it and want him to keep shooting the ball.” 

While Hubb might be in a slump, Gibbs is more than grateful for Hubb being able to run point guard and shoulder some of the workload. 

“He’s a great player for me to play off of,” said Gibbs. “Just watching him get into the lane and attack gives me more confidence. The more he can play the more comfortable he’ll be. He’s going to be a force. He’s coming, but it’s a process we have to keep trusting. He’s a young guy who is getting some major minutes. He’s going to be alright.”

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