|- Budding skills facing the basket|
|- Quick feet|
|- Shot-blocking skills|
|- Older than class peers|
|- Decent athlete|
|- Quick off feet|
|- Rebounding ability|
|- Ability to face the basket|
|- Average size|
|- Frail frame|
|- Free throw shooting|
|- Shooting mechanics|
|DraftExpress: USA Select Team: Ryan Anderson; DeJuan Blair; DeMarcus Cousins; DeMar DeRozan; Derrick Favors; Paul George; Taj Gibson; Gordon Hayward|
|DraftExpress: Part of me wants to gloat about calling Omer Asik the sleeper of the draft, but then I remember what I thought about Taj Gibson. Yikes.|
|DraftExpress: Effort level by Omer Asik and Taj Gibson was off the charts. Those guys move their feet like guards. Makes a huge difference defensively.|
|Top 25s - Full List|
H: 6' 10"|
W: 214 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|RSCI: 41||Agent: Mark Bartelstein |
High School: Calvary Christian
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Pick 26 in 2009 by Bulls
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2009||NBA Draft Combine||6' 8.5"||6' 9.75"||214||7' 4"||9' 1"||6.6||25.5||30.0|
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Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10 (Part Two: #6-10)|
September 26, 2008
Last year USC forward Taj Gibson saved his worst performance of the year for last (his 28 minute disaster-piece against Kansas State in which he scored 10 points on 1/5 shooting and fouled out in 28 minutes) and completed a season that he likely wants to forget. Unfortunately, Gibson is 23 years old and is quickly running out of time to show scouts that he can consistently play at an elite level. Next season he will have a good deal of opportunity. With O.J. Mayo, Davon Jefferson, and Angelo Johnson no longer on campus, Gibson is going to get a lot of touches and, considering the flashes he showed throughout his career, he could, should, and must have a much better season.
Physically, Gibson has not improved that much since his freshman year. He still is slightly undersized for the post at 6’9 and he still needs to work on his wiry 215-pound frame. At the next level, his athleticism won’t stand out, but combined with his aggressiveness and long wingspan, he should be a presence in the lane next year on both sides of the ball for the Trojans.
On the offensive end, Gibson’s scoring average dropped from 12.2 to 10.8 on about two fewer possessions per game, but his shooting percentage jumped up to 58%. That being said, it is essential that he assert himself more often on the offensive end next season. After all, he has some nice tools to work with including a solid post game and a developing face-up game. He gets 35.6% of his offense while single covered in the post, and shows nice quickness around the basket. He still could stand to improve his fundamentals in the post, but as evidenced by his 58% field goal percentage, we’re talking about a very efficient offensive player. He should look to improve his face-up game, namely his mid-range jump-shot, which has a significant hitch, and better ball handling could greatly help him improve his offensive versatility.
Defensively, it’s the same old story for Gibson. He’s a scrappy player, but needs to work on maintaining a constant focus on the floor and reducing his extremely high 3.5 fouls per game. He averaged an outstanding 2.5 blocks per game, largely because of his timing and length. One area of concern is his decreased rebounding numbers despite playing around the same amount of minutes. While some of the blame falls on Davon Jefferson’s added company in the paint, it is essential that Gibson continue to prove himself on the boards as well as a presence on the defensive end.
USC is going to be in an interesting situation next season. They’re without a true point guard and despite the presence of freshman phenomenon, Demar DeRozan, will rely significantly on veterans like Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett to put points on the board. Similarly, if UNC transfer Alex Stepheson is granted eligibility, Gibson will have a lot less pressure in the post, and will finally be allowed to play his natural position of power forward. Simply put, regardless of the circumstances, Gibson must have a great year next year. As of now, he is a 23-year-old junior with a closing window of opportunity. If Gibson wants to get drafted, he is going to have to have a breakout season next year and show scouts that he’s capable of asserting himself and consistently playing at a high level.
[Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10 (Part Two: #6-#10)
September 20, 2007
As a freshman, Gibson stepped up and anchored the middle for a USC team that made a solid run to the Sweet 16. In his final game against North Carolina, the freshman big led Southern Cal to a big lead before foul trouble took him out of the game. Entering his sophomore year, expectations remain high for Gibson, but he will play on a much different looking USC team that lost Gabe Pruitt and Nick Young to the NBA, but added various prospects including O.J. Mayo, Davon Jefferson and Angelo Johnson.
Gibson lacks ideal size for an NBA power forward, standing 6’9” and weighing only 215 pounds on a frame that may not take a whole lot of additional bulk. Despite his size, the sophomore forward has an excellent wing span and plays much tougher than you would expect from an initial glance at his body.
During his first college season, Gibson managed to contribute in a number of ways offensively while playing as only the third or fourth option. In the post, he uses superior quickness to get to the rim, and his long arms combined with above average leaping ability to finish against taller and stronger big men. From the high post, Gibson enjoys taking his man off the dribble, showing decent ball handling ability with both hands while attacking the basket. His offensive skills also extend to the pick and roll, where he hits the mid-range jumper with some accuracy. While he gets by fairly well at the college level with his aggressiveness and basic skill level, he still has plenty of room to work on his all-around polish offensively—particularly his footwork, shot-creating ability, and shooting range.
Defensively, Gibson plays amazingly tough against bigger players in the Pac 10, as displayed in performances against the Lopez twins and Tyler Hansbrough during his freshman season. He holds his position very well in the post, and his long arms make scoring a difficult task for the opposition. The lanky sophomore also has promise as a weak-side shot-blocker, though he has the tendency to sacrifice his help defense for rebounding position at this point.
Gibson also proved to be one of the better rebounders in the Pac 10 last season, thanks to excellent anticipation and positioning skills. His effort on the glass comes on both ends of the floor, and a large percentage of Gibson’s points last season came on offensive rebound putbacks.
With that said, Gibson remains a tough player to gauge as an NBA prospect. He brings a lot of unique skills to the table for a big man, but at the same time, his lack of outstanding physical tools limit his potential the 4. It is also tough to speculate how much upside remains for the Southern Cal sophomore, who entered college at the age of 21 and will turn 23 around the same time as the 2008 NBA draft. Gibson has only played a limited amount of high level basketball, which means he still has room to round out his game, but his body may already be physically mature at the age of 22.
Playing with guards like O.J. Mayo, Daniel Hackett and Angelo Johnson will allow Gibson to shine this season, and he will be able to continue to contribute in a number of ways on both ends of the floor. If USC has the success that many are predicting, it would make sense for Gibson to test his stock in the 2008 draft.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (Sweet 16, Friday games)--Stock Up
March 24, 2007
Had Taj Gibson not been called for his 4th foul of the game with 12:25 left to go in the 2nd half, it’s very much conceivable that USC would have left the building with a win. North Carolina was down by 11 points at the time, and with Gibson on the bench, went on a 20-2 run, with numerous baskets in that span coming off offensive rebounds or inside the paint, where Gibson dominated the entire game until picking up his fourth foul.
North Carolina ended up squeezing it out, but no one should soon forget the clinic that Gibson put on them in the first 28 minutes of the game. He attacked UNC’s future lottery picks with supreme aggression, putting the ball on the floor numerous times and blowing by Tyler Hansbrough thanks to his superb quickness. He also established great position on him in the post and showed some nice moves finishing, as well as absolutely cleaning up on the offensive glass.
Defensively, Gibson was just as active, denying Hansbrough the type of position he’s been accustomed to getting his entire career, and instead forcing him to settle for mid-range jumpers rather than using his typical tenacity around the rim. Gibson also did a magnificent job as a rebounder, using his quickness and aggressiveness to neutralize UNC’s height and talent advantage in the frontcourt, and showing excellent toughness and hands coming down with some very strong boards.
With 12:25 to go, Gibson had 16 points and 11 rebounds and looked to be on the verge of a breakout performance on the national level to go along with an incredible upset over arguably the most talented team in America. A quick foul on Tyler Hansbrough in the post sent him to the bench with 4 fouls, though, and Gibson only had 1 rebound to show for his effort over the next 12 minutes, along with the loss. He looked completely exhausted in the minutes he was on the floor down the stretch, and it’s hard to blame him considering how hard he played matching up with two phenomenal talents in Wright and Hansbrough. Gibson’s fifth foul, a moving screen violation, caused his head coach Tim Floyd to lose his mind and throw his cards on the court for no particular reason, which essentially lost his team the game.
Only a freshman, we’ll surely be hearing plenty more of him next season in the Pac-10, playing next to O.J. Mayo. There is surely a place in the NBA for a big man with his mindset, but he’ll probably have to round out his offensive game a bit more first, which he surely has the talent to do.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers-- 1/3/2007, Part Two
January 4, 2007
As if the Pac-10 needed another impact freshman, it is clear that Tim Floyd's first major impact recruit isn't going to be OJ Mayo, but rather current newcomer Taj Gibson. Gibson quickly took over as USC's feature big man after arriving on campus and has been putting up double-doubles consistently since the beginning of the season. His physical presence around the basket gives the Trojans an unexpected new dimension and Gibson could be the difference between NIT and NCAA this year for Floyd.
Gibson isn't an overwhelming prospect physically, checking in at a lean 6'9. At the moment he certainly fits into that tweener category in terms of NBA potential, with a skinny frame more suited for SF at the next level, but a playing style and skill level that is going to keep him in the paint for a while in college. While Gibson doesn't have a lot of room to add bulk on his frame, he makes up for it with a ferocious, reckless manner around the basket. He is a phenomenal rebounder, showing great anticipation and the ability to fight through contact for loose balls. He is certainly athletic enough to make the move to the perimeter someday, but for now he can dominate the glass with his quick leaping ability.
While Gibson's game doesn't shout go-to scorer by any stretch, he displays a solid understanding of when to look for his own shot and a well-rounded offensive game. He can use his quickness from the mid-post, knock down the midrange jumper when it is there for him, as well as do some damage directly on the low block. This isn't a player who needs a large number of looks every game, but will find ways to contribute in the scoring column nonetheless.
Washington's heralded frontcourt found out about Gibson the hard way, as the freshman was physically dominant down the stretch in USC's overtime win. He consistently beat Husky big men to loose balls and rebounds, almost single-handedly keeping the Trojans in the game at times with numerous crucial hustle plays. He finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but it honestly felt like Gibson grabbed 10 boards in the first half.
Taj Gibson doesn't have a whole lot of obvious NBA upside at the moment, but is a prospect who is playing at a very high level and has a lot of time to further develop his game. Already 21 years old, he can’t really be compared equally to other 18 or 19 year-old players in this freshman class, but he still has a nice upside to continue to round out his game. He understands what plenty of talented big men never do, and that is how to play aggressively without playing out of control. Gibson has three years to develop a perimeter game, and considering his frame and athleticism, it is easy to see him ending up as a starting-quality NBA forward someday.
[Read Full Article]