Blog Entry

Ashton Gibbs takes blame for Pitt's season

Posted on: March 7, 2012 5:52 pm

By Jeff Goodman

Ashton Gibbs was about as stand-up as it gets. 

"It's been a rough season from beginning to end," Pittsburgh's senior guard said after the Panthers were knocked out of the Big East tournament by Georgetown on Wednesday. "A lot of it has to do with me not living up to expectations." 

"I didn't live up to it," he added. "I did a bad job leading this year and it clearly showed." 

But let's be honest. It was far more than just Gibbs not performing up to his potential. 

"This team lost a lot," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We've been able to overcome it in the past. We weren't able to do it this year." 

Three years ago, Dixon lost his top three players -- Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Levance Fields. Pittsburgh wound up winning 25 games the next season and finished 13-5 in Big East play. 

The Panthers have been a rock in the Big East since Dixon followed his former boss, Ben Howland. No program has had more success in league play over the past 11 years. There's the 290-87 overall mark, the 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and the 20 Big East tournament victories. The Big East tourney titles in 2003 and 2008. 

That's why everyone penciled Pittsburgh into the league title race and handed the Panthers a spot in the Top 25 prior to the start of the season despite losing Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee and Gilbert Brown. 

But this year's edition is now 17-16 overall and finished 5-13 in the Big East - likely headed to the NIT. 

"It's obviously something I didn't even think about," Gibbs said. "I wouldn't have believed it in a million years that we wouldn't make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season." 

"But we'll play in NIT if we get invited," he added. "If not, we'll move on."

Gibbs' leadership -- of lack thereof -- was a piece. So was the injury sustained to starting point guard Travon Woodall which kept him on the sidelines for 11 games. There was the transfer of highly touted big man Khem Birch after the first semester and also numerous injuries to senior Nasir Robinson, Gibbs and others. 

"It all started with me not being the senior leader," Gibbs said.

Noble, but not entirely accurate. 


Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:33 pm

Ashton Gibbs takes blame for Pitt's season

As Henry Sims will tell you; losing Khem Birch really hurt Pitt this year. They were counting on him to be a force inside for the next few years.

Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:00 am

Ashton Gibbs takes blame for Pitt's season

ashton, i want to thank you for all the entertaining nights watching you and my beloved panthers, even if the players didn't congradulate you and nasir when you came out of the game against the hoyas, as a matter in fact i didn't see one coach make a move to either! hope the best for you in the future, good luck, HAIL TO PITT

Since: Oct 14, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:45 pm

Ashton Gibbs takes blame for Pitt's season

The problem is that Gibbs cannot create his own shot, this is why Pitt suffered all season that and the defense was not there like it had been for the majority of the 10 years with Dixon and Howland. How was Gibbs any different than Aaron Graves? Spot up shooter, does not move as well away from the ball, the only difference was that graves was a better defensive player. You did not have that great interior defender which I place the blame on coach dixon because he did not want to start Birch over Robinson. Robinson was no where near as good of a defender as Birch and just could not contribute much offensively. Pitts D was horrible this season as teams paraded to the basketball each game.  I hope that the young guys learn from this season and come out better next year. There were some good signs though, Taylor finaly started looking like the player that folks though he would be, JJ Moore had some flashes, and Patterson showed some progress in filling the Wanamaker role. But that's where it stops. Johnson was not ready, neither was Gilbert, Epps, or Wright. Losing Woodall did hurt, but I doubt that it would have made that much of a difference. Woodall turns the ball over too much and does not make the best decisions. 

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