ACC's Top-25 Players: No. 15 – Xavier Gibson, Florida State

facebooktwitterreddit

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t even have to say it…Xavier Gibson at No 15? Xavier Gibson ahead of players like Mason Plumlee, C.J. Leslie and Seth Curry? What have you’ve been smoking?

The answer is pot, but trust me, I understand where you are coming from. If there is one pick on this list that I’m probably going to regret, it’s this one. After two years at Florida State, Xavier Gibson certainly hasn’t produced enough stats (last year 5.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) to earn a spot on this list.

Cut me some slack though, I have to throw in a sleeper in somewhere, so let me try explaining it.

The fact is there are a handful of sleeper candidates in the ACC in 2010-2011. You got the seven-footer Tony Woods at Wake Forest, the older Plumlee, Miles at Duke, Mfon Udofia at Georgia Tech, Michael Snaed at Florida State and I certainly saw some good things last year from Miami’s Reggie Johnson. Yet, something about Xavier Gibson sticks out to me like an Asian woman at a Bar Mitzvah.

Last season, Gibson only managed to get on the floor about 12 minutes per game, stuck behind a forest of big men. However, with Soloman Alabi leaving early and Ryan Reid no longer eligible, the center spot belongs to Gibson.

On the offensive end, Xavier primarily plays facing the basket, hitting a solid 55% from the floor. He even took 15 threes last year, nailing 40% of them. Not bad for a standing nearly seven-feet from the ground.

Yet, if he’s going to replace Alabi in the middle next year, Gibson will need to have added some back-to-the-basket moves to his offensive arsenal.

So far, that’s been missing, as has the ability to be a dominant rebounder. Since coming on campus, Gibson has added roughly 30 pounds to his skinny frame. If he can continue to muscle up, he should be able to start working inside the paint on the offensive end and become stronger on the glass.

Of course, basketball is not all about the offense and the number of baskets you put through the hoop. There is also this thing called “defense” and it’s just as important. This is why I’m sneaking Gibson onto my list.

Under Leonard Hamilton, the Florida State Seminoles have primarily been a tall, defensive-minded team. No team has done a better job of closing down the paint in the ACC than the Noles.

While Chris Singleton will get the headlines, it’s always easier to be a great defender when you know you have a shot blocker backing you up. The past two years, Soloman Alabi was the tree stationed in the paint. Now it’s Xavier Gibson.

I’m going to go way out on a limb with a prediction. I’m say now, in early July, Gibson will lead the ACC in blocks next season. If I’m right, then Gibson won’t need to be an offensive scoring threat.

#16 – C.J. LESLIE, FORWARD – NORTH CAROLINA STATE

#17 – GLEN RICE JR., GUARD – GEORGIA TECH

#18 – REGGIE BULLOCK, GUARD – NORTH CAROLINA

#19 – MASON PLUMLEE, FORWARD – DUKE

#20 – C.J. HARRIS, GUARD – WAKE FOREST

#21 – SETH CURRY, GUARD – DUKE

#22 – SEAN MOSLEY, GUARD – MARYLAND

#23 – JOE TRAPANI, FORWARD – BOSTON COLLEGE

#24 – MIKE SCOTT, FORWARD – VIRGINIA

#25 IMAN SHUMPERT, GUARD – GEORGIA TECH