Seven years ago, a young kid from Charlotte went from being a nobody to a household name overnight. We now remember it was the coming out party for Stephen Curry.
The sophomore guard for the all but unknown Davidson Wildcats dropped 40 points, including 8-10 from three, on Gonzaga en route to a 82-76 win in the first round of the NCAA tournament. In the round of 32, Curry scored another 30 points, upsetting #2 seed Georgetown, and against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 he scored 33. The Wildcats then faltered in the Elite Eight, dropping a close game to the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Curry scored 25 points.
But while the national sports world was just meeting a young Steph, his notoriety in the SoCon was already through the roof. Back then, Davidson was a member of the Southern Conference, and Curry just about owned every aspect of it. That same year as the NCAA tournament breakout, Curry led the SoCon in scoring with 25.5 PPG, adding 4.7 RPG and 2.8 APG. He was named first team All-Conference and was by and large the best player in the SoCon. After declaring for the NBA draft following his junior season, we all know what ensued: perennial All-Star appearances, NBA MVP and 2015 World Champion.
Now we are in a new era of Davidson basketball. As members of the Atlantic 10, the Cats have excelled in getting back to the tournament multiple times, and have had some consistent success. But now, there’s a new superstar at the helm.
His name is Jack Gibbs.
Like Curry, Gibbs in an undersized guard that wasn’t highly recruited coming out of high school. A native of Westervile, Ohio, Gibbs received offers from only smaller schools including Miami (OH), Creighton, Ohio and Akron. However, it was Davidson that could offer him the best hope for a basketball career. Gibbs was only 5-10, four inches shorter than Curry, but Coach Bob McKilop was willing to take a gamble. And it worked.
After a slow freshman season, Gibbs upped his point average from 6.8 to 16.2 PPG as a sophomore. And in his junior season, Gibbs is showing that he is no joke.
Through ten games, Gibbs is averaging 26.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 4.1 APG, numbers eerily reminiscent of Curry’s. Currently, Gibbs is ranked third in the nation in scoring and is shooting 38.6% from three (four points down from last year’s season total). When all is said and done, the games of Gibbs and Curry share a lot in common. But could their destiny’s line up as well?
While Davidson’s season remains to be played out, the Wildcats are putting together a nice little resume for the selection committee to consider. But if Davidson does make the tournament, be on the lookout. Could Jack Gibbs truly introduce himself to the world? We’ve seen a pretty talented Wildcat guard do similar things before.
The picture above shows Curry and Gibbs sharing a moment after Gibbs but on a 41 point performance against Charlotte earlier this season.
Curry put Davidson on the map. Now it is Gibbs’ turn to keep them there, and maybe do a little something for his own draft status while he’s at it.