Since offering him in February, Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey has really turned up his recruiting of New Jersey combo guard Temple "T.J." Gibbs. In a fairly short amount of time, Brey was able to connect with Gibbs and his parents, earning notice as a constant presence (usually with an assistant or two) at his games during viewing periods and during his recent in-home visit with the family.
Heading into Gibbs' campus visit to Notre Dame this weekend, the Irish were considered by many to be the leader to land the 4 star player, and it appeared as though Brey was going into closer mode. During the visit, Brey's dogged efforts to land his guy were rewarded as Gibbs pulled the trigger and committed to be Notre Dame's first commitment in its 2016 recruiting class.
The 6'2" combo guard currently attends school and plays at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. He also plays for New Jersey's Playaz Basketball Club for AAU, with which he has played with Kentucky signee Isaiah Briscoe, Syracuse signee Moustapha Diagne, and DePaul commit Elijah Cain. With that impressive trio leaving for college, the team virtually becomes Gibbs' this summer and will really give him a chance to prove himself as one of the elite guards in the country.
Gibbs is the younger brother of former Pittsburgh star Ashton Gibbs as well as current fifth-year senior Sterling Gibbs, who himself is being recruiting as a graduate transfer after deciding to leave Seton Hall. The youngest Gibbs chose Notre Dame over his brothers' schools, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall, as well as schools recruiting him heavily including Connecticut, Georgetown, Oklahoma, St. John's, and Virginia, among plenty of other offers.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN: 4 star, 85 rating, 38th overall, 7th ranked SG
Rivals: 4 star, 66th overall, 32nd ranked G
Scout: 4 star, 57th overall, 11th ranked PG
247: 4 star, 95 rating, 46th ranked overall, 6th ranked PG
247 composite: 4 star, .979 rating, 44th ranked overall, 7th ranked PG
Great profile of him here:
These highlights are as impressive as any I've seen from a Notre Dame recruit (and these are from last summer):
If Jackson leaves for the NBA after this season, a fairly likely proposition given his lottery projections, then Gibbs is a fairly safe bet to start in his place from day one. He is a wizard with the ball in his hands, can score from anywhere on the floor, and is absolutely ACC-ready. If Jackson stays for his senior season, then it is harder to see Gibbs crack the starting lineup, but he will certainly be one of the primary options off the bench.
Let's be honest. Gibbs has a few dozen schools he can attend and is one of the very best prospects in the country. He isn't going to a school like Notre Dame so he can play second fiddle and sit on the bench for a year. It is very hard to see Matt Farrell keeping Gibbs out of the starting lineup, especially with Farrell unlikely to accumulate much experience before Gibbs arrives in South Bend.
Gibbs is an obvious candidate for the Freshman All-ACC team in light of his potential as well as the opportunity that will likely be awaiting him at Notre Dame. I see him in many ways as a similar prospect to Maryland guard Melo Trimble, and I would not at all be surprised to see Gibbs make that kind of impact as a freshman.
I do not think Gibbs is really in the conversation as a one-and-done type of player. He doesn't quite have the athleticism of someone like Jackson or the length of a player like Kris Dunn, qualities that seem to be necessary to viably leave college so early. I would not be surprised, however, if Gibbs had a decision to make after his sophomore or junior year.
Gibbs just has such a complete, mature offensive game as a point guard and will be showcased for nearly 40 minutes a night in an NBA-like offense under Mike Brey. Given Brey's recent track record with point guards, from Ben Hansbrough to Jerian Grant to Demetrius Jackson, the partnership is just a perfect one.
That's not to say Gibbs does not have anything to work on. He is a score-first point guard that may need to slow things down and learn how to involve his teammates in Brey's offense, not always the easiest task. He looks like he needs to get more lift and use his legs better on his outside shot. Defense is always a question mark from elite kids who dominate their less elite high school competition, especially for the 30-35 minutes a night he is going to have to play.
But Gibbs is simply as good as it gets as a recruit under Mike Brey. This is a perfect marriage of an elite point guard with a mature game going to play for a guy who has made a career out of getting high-end point guard play. He is only ten spots lower than future lottery pick Demetrius Jackson in 247's composite and gets to fill his shoes immediately in one of the best offensive systems in the country. There's no reason to overthink this one, folks. T.J. Gibbs has future star written all over him.
Welcome to Notre Dame, T.J.!