Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Just a few short weeks ago, all was copacetic for the Brothers Gibbs.
Ashton was still a junior on a Pittsburgh basketball team that figured to once again be a national power next season.
And Sterling had signed to play for legendary coach Gary Williams at Maryland.
Now, everything is up in the air for the talented brothers from Scotch Plains, N.J.
The 6-foot-2 Ashton must decide by Sunday whether or not to remain in the NBA Draft or return to Pitt for his senior season.
And the 6-1 Sterling is waiting to see whether Arizona coach Sean Miller replaces the retired Williams at Maryland.
“I’m excited about the possibility of Sean Miller and [assistant] Book Richardson coming to Maryland,” Sterling said. “They are East Coast guys and Book is a New York guy.”
In the immediate aftermath of Williams’ retirement news Thursday, Sterling initially said he and fellow Maryland pledge Nick Faust planned to “open up our recruitment.
“It was a shock,” Temple Gibbs, the boys’ father said of Williams’ retirement and the impact on his son’s comments. “It just kind of came out of the blue.”
A highly-placed source confirmed that Miller will meet Saturday in Las Vegas with Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson. Miller is speaking at the Nike Basketball Championship Clinic there, immediately following Pitt coach Jamie Dixon.
“That should be really interesting,” Sterling said. “I’m gonna wait to see what happens, though.
“I just want to see who is leaving and staying when it becomes official.”
Temple said he would be happy to see Miller, a Pittsburgh native who took Arizona to the Elite Eight, get the Maryland gig.
“Yeah, if he’s happy to have my son, I would be happy to have him,” Temple said.
Ironically, if Miller were to leave Arizona for Maryland, it could cause tremors among Arizona’s loaded four-man recruiting class that includes guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson and forwards Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson, a New York native.
While Sterling waits to see what unfolds, Ashton must make a decision this weekend on his future.
He did not test well at the combine, finishing last in two vertical jump categories and near the bottom in several others.
He is not projected to be drafted by DraftExpress.com, and the conventional wisdom here among NBA executives was that he should not come out.
Asked if he should come out, one veteran NBA scout said, “No.”
“I’m going to talk to my parents tonight [Saturday] and try to make a decision by [Sunday],” said Gibbs, who was accompanied by Pitt assistant Brandin Knight. “I won’t be mad, either way.”
He added: “I’m 50/50 right now. I wouldn’t be mad whether I went back to school or whether I stayed in the draft.
If Gibbs returns to Pitt, the Panthers should once again be among the favorites to challenge for the Big East regular-season title and advance to the first Final Four of the Dixon Era.
“The good thing about life, it goes in a circle,” Temple said. “You make a decision and go back [to] the way things were, so it’ll be alright.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.