ACC’s Top-100: No. 74 Xavier Gibson, Florida State


Is it my imagination or do the Florida State Seminoles have a lot of seven footers? Yes, technically this guy is just 6-11, but withth

PLAYER: Xavier Gibson
POSITION: Forward-Center
TEAM: Florida State
YEAR: Senior
TAPE: 6-11, 230

2010-11 STATS: 4.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG (.414/.686/.077)

Last year I whiffed badly when I picked Xavier Gibson to be the 15th best player in the ACC. Yes, the 15th best player. At the time I even admitted this was probably a bad decision.

I just thought with the departure of Soloman Alabi and Ryan Reid, Gibson was going to have a big impact inside, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. However, want I didn’t account for was the injuries.

Gibson began the season as the starter and through those 13 games he was pretty effective. Not top-15 effective, but effective none-the-less.

Prior to his injury Gibson averaged roughly 19 minutes on the court, producing seven points and 4.8 rebounds. The shooting percentage (44-percent) certainly could have been better. Still, he was the only true big starting on the floor, as Florida State went small, with Chris Singleton at the 4-spot.

Then two days before Christmas against Butler, Gibson injured both his left knee and left hand. He would miss nine games.

During that time though, other big men, including Bernard James, Okaro White and Jon Kreft, stepped up big time. Both James and White proved to be more effective in the paint. By the time Gibson return, his starting time was gone and his playing time was cut.

He would play only eight minutes per game after coming back, often as Leonard Hamilton’s last option off the bench. He hit only 31-percent from the floor, completely unacceptable for a man his size.

Of course after saying all that, the NBA scouts are all about this kid. In fact, looking at some 2012 Mock Drafts, Gibson is the only Seminole that can be found on it. Is that insane or what? What’s the reasoning?

The reality is, what you accomplish in college doesn’t means as much to the NBA decision makers. What they want is athletic size. That’s what Gibson brings to the table.

A true seven-footer, Gibson is athletic and very mobile. He loves to run the floor. He’s got a huge wingspan and his foot speed is good enough to put him at the 4-spot. He’s actually a pretty decent shooter and works well with the pick and pop. He even has a three-point shot. Yes he only hit 1-13 from deep last year, but he was a more effective 6-15 from three the year before.

Of course his biggest strength is his defense. That wingspan I mentioned before makes him a solid shot blocker and he even does a solid job of denying the ball down low, although he’ll gamble a little too much from time to time.

His flaw, like so many big men on this list, is his lack of a legit post-game. It’s almost shocking how many big’s come to college with no back-to-the-basket game. The problem for Gibson is that he’s going to be a senor and he still hasn’t developed much of a post-game.

Part of the problem is his size. He’s only about 230, gaining about 30 pounds since joining the Seminoles. The hope is he can put on another 15-20 pounds. He needs it. Smaller but stronger players have been able to muscle Gibson around inside. Yes, he can out-jump almost anyone, but rebounding is not just about that. It’s about positioning.

When scoring last season, Gibson relied on others to find him for easy baskets. This is fine when you’re playing the cupcakes early in the season, but it’s not enough when you’re in the meat of your ACC schedule.

If he wants more playing time in 2011-2012, he’s going to need to start creating his own shot. The Seminoles frontcourt is once again packed.

There is no reason to believe that senior Bernard James and sophomore Okaro White won’t start again for Leonard Hamilton. Gibson will need to fight for minutes with fellow senior Jon Kreft and incoming transfer Kiel Turpin.

Yes, Gibson is the most talented of the trio, but talent doesn’t always win out.

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