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Maryland's 'the perfect place' for Sterling Gibbs

Sterling Gibbs' introduction to the Maryland basketball program came nearly two years ago when he met Terps assistant coach Chuck Driesell.

Driesell started recruiting Gibbs, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard from Scotch Plains, N.J., early in his sophomore year at Seton Hall Prep, and the pair immediately formed a strong bond. Gibbs was quickly sold on the Terps' style of play, which featured elements of his high school team's system.

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On Monday night, player and coach both had good news to share. Gibbs was ready to become Maryland's first commitment of the 2011 class, while Driesell would be leaving College Park to become The Citadel's head coach. While Gibbs is coming and Driesell is going, the junior never wavered in his choice.

"That wasn't really an issue," Gibbs said. "Coach Driesell just told me I would be in great hands. ... I get along well with Coach [Gary] Williams and I should be alright. But Coach Driesell is a great recruiter, he's a great coach and he will definitely do well at The Citadel. ... I knew that Maryland was the perfect place for me. At the end of the day, Maryland is what I chose, and I'm definitely happy with my pick."After speaking with Driesell, Gibbs called Williams and relayed to him the good news.

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"He just said that he feels I can be successful in his offense if I work hard," Gibbs said. "I should be able to do some good things at Maryland, and it's definitely the right situation for me. Overall, he was just as excited as I was."

Gibbs, who averaged 20 points and eight assists for the Pirates as a junior, chose the Terps over offers from Indiana, Florida, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia and Wake Forest. Throughout the process, Gibbs was able to lean on his older brother -- Pittsburgh sophomore Ashton Gibbs -- for advice. Sterling said his older brother, when informed of his commitment, "got so excited and put it [online] first" Monday night. Sterling followed suit soon after, announcing his Maryland pledge on his Facebook page.

Gibbs joined the Seton Hall Prep varsity squad as a freshman, coming off the bench as the sixth man, while Ashton took on the starring role. After Ashton moved on to Pitt, Sterling became Pirates coach Bob Farrell's go-to guy.

"A lot of games that were close ended up going in our favor because he would get fouled down the stretch and make those foul shots," Farrell said. "But he also is a good shooter from 3-point range so that defenses have to play him honestly. I remember we played a team in a tournament that had scouted him and saw him drive to the basket. So they put at 6-6 kid, a very good Division I player, on him, and I think he had 38 points in that game. He must've had six or seven 3s. If you lay off him so he can't drive, you're going to have to pay that price, too."

Gibbs is already familiar with much of Maryland's roster. He knows two incoming freshmen — Oak Hill (Va.) Academy guard Pe'Shon Howard and St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey — from the AAU circuit. Gibbs played against freshman center Jordan Williams once in high school, and he was hosted by sophomore guard Sean Mosley on a visit to College Park earlier this year.

Mosley will be a senior when Gibbs arrives at Maryland, while Howard and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita's Terrell Stoglin — both point guards — will be sophomores. For Gibbs, joining a backcourt with so many versatile pieces is "definitely a positive."

"I think we'll definitely be able to play together and work together," he said. "The way the offense is set up, you have to have shooters. I think all three of us are able to knock down the J and get our teammates involved. It definitely should be a good fit. We're all unselfish, so there's no going wrong with it. I definitely think it should be a great experience."

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