Junior Sterling Gibbs helped Seton Hall start Big East play with back-to-back victories over ranked opponents. After playing a crucial role in wins over St. John's and Villanova, Gibbs has been named NetScouts Basketball's National Player of the Week for games from December 29th to January 4th.
The 6-foot-2 guard from Scotch Plains, N.J. opened conference play with 25 points, eight assists, and two rebounds in a 78-67 win over St. John's. He shot 7-of-13 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range. He followed it with another quality performance in an even bigger upset against Villanova. Gibbs contributed 20 points and four assists as the Pirates handed Villanova its first loss of the year. On the week, Gibbs averaged 22.5 points and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 45.5 percent (15-of-33) from the field and 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from distance.
While only two games into Big East action, Gibbs was instrumental in helping Seton Hall pull off two major upsets. They were even more impressive considering star freshman Isaiah Whitehead was out with a foot injury. Gibbs, who leads the team with averages of 16.6 points and 3.7 assists per game, will need to continue his dominance for Seton Hall to contend for an NCAA Tournament bid. He certainly had the Pirates looking like a tournament team this past week.
Another junior guard that helped lead his team to an undefeated week was Oklahoma's Buddy Hield. The Freeport, Bahamas native has been named NetScouts Basketball's International Player of the Week for games from December 29th to January 4th.
Hield scored in double-figures during all three Oklahoma contests this week with wins over Weber State, George Mason, and Baylor. He notched a double-double with a 20-point, 10-rebound showing against Baylor to start Big 12 play. He connected on 5-of-12 field goal attempts, 4-of-10 three-pointers, and chipped in another four assists. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 15.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 50 percent (16-of-32) from the floor and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from deep this week.
The lethal shooter is now averaging a team-high 16.0 points per game this year while shooting 38 percent from three-point range. Hield's numbers have taken a slight dip compared to his sophomore season, but the Bahamian looks primed to boost those averages in Big 12 play. In a loaded conference, he'll need to produce consistently if Oklahoma wants to remain in the upper half of the standings.
Carl Berman is Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball.