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Behind the numbers: Why Temple Gibbs will have a breakout season for Notre Dame

It may not be this season, but soon enough, Temple Gibbs will be a star at Notre Dame.

Mike Brey has created one of the top programs in college basketball; not only in terms of success, but also in terms of player development. Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell — the best pick-and-roll combination in college hoops — are two shining examples of this. It’s become routine, every season, to expect at least one Notre Dame cager to make a leap.

Rex Pflueger will look to breakout this season, too, but Temple Gibbs oozes with high-level potential for the Fighting Irish.

 

Ready, set, go

Temple Gibbs appeared in all 36 games for Notre Dame in 2016-17; he even made one start, which in a win over Florida State. However, in Mike Brey’s razor-thin rotation — Gibbs was one of only six players to play 500-plus minutes — opportunities were sparse. That changes now, though.

V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia, two of the steadiest hands in college basketball the last four years, are gone. Their eligibility is exhausted; Gibbs, however, is just getting started.

According to Sports Reference, Gibbs was one of only five freshmen in the ACC last season to play at least 500 minutes, make 10-plus three-pointers and have an assist rate over 18 percent. The other four players include Dennis Smith Jr. — a top-10 pick and Rookie of the Year candidate — are two of the league’s top guards: Ky Bowman and Bruce Brown.

 

Gibbs can run the show, too

The basketball will usually be in Farrell’s hands, which is a good thing. He’s a very good basketball player. Temple Gibbs can play off the ball, though. According to Synergy Sports, Gibbs scored 0.93 points per spot-up possession as a freshman; that ranked 50th in the ACC amongst players with at least 70 possessions.

Mike Brey’s mover-blocker offense is a fantastic vehicle for secondary creators, like Gibbs.

Gibbs didn’t run that many pick-and-roll last season, but when he did, the rookie was efficient, especially as a passer. Notre Dame shot 61.5 percent and scored 1.4 points per possession when Gibbs was a passer out of pick-and-roll action.

According to Synergy, there were 73 ACC players in 2016-17 that recorded at least 20 possessions as a passer in a pick-and-roll. Of that group, Gibbs ninth in offensive efficiency on said possessions.

 

The call them free for a reason

According to KenPom, Notre Dame led the nation in free throw percentage in 2016-17 — 80 percent. It’s part of what made the Irish the 18th most efficient offense in the nation last season: 118.1 points per 100 possessions. Again, Gibbs contributed to this cause, too.

Gibbs — who drew a shooting foul on 15.3 percent of his spot-up possessions, per Synergy — shot 83.1 percent from the charity stripe.

By the way, Gibbs was one of 19 ACC players last season to shoot 80 percent or better on foul shots — minimum of 50 attempts.

Dating back to the 1992-93 season, Gibbs is one of only 40 ACC freshmen players to shot 80 percent or better on free throws with a minimum of 50 attempts. Some of the other ACC players to accomplish this includes Chris Paul, Jayson Tatum, Wayne Ellington and Marvin Williams.

 

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