College Basketball: Former ECHS standout Madarious Gibbs helping Texas SouthernBy DOUG GORMAN
Every college basketball player dreams of participating in March Madness with a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Former East Coweta basketball standout and 2010-11 Newnan Times-Herald Player of the Year Madarious Gibbs will have to wait at least one more season to realize a goal of reaching the NCAA tournament despite dominating the Southwestern Athletic Conference schedule.
It didn’t stop the Tigers or Gibbs from leaving it all on the court.
The Tigers clinched the regular-season title with a 16-2 mark in league play while finishing 17-14 overall in a tough non-conference schedule that included games against three ranked opponents — Michigan State, Colorado and San Diego State.
“It (the ban) made us really hungry,” Gibbs said during a phone interview Tuesday. “We kind felt like every game was a tournament game and we had something to prove.”
The Tigers put an exclamation point on the season with a 78-59 win over Alcorn State.
Gibbs played 26 minutes in his final game of the year and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Texas Southern is under the direction of first-year head coach Mike Davis, formally of Indiana University and Alabama-Birmingham.
Gibbs became an integral part of Davis’ lineup this season.
The East Coweta graduate averaged 6.5 points while playing in all 31 games this season for the Tigers.
Gibbs, who also connected on 41-percent (17 of 41) of his attempts from 3-point range, continues to try and push himself to do better.
“My game was up and down this year,” he said.
Texas Southern’s schedule included games against some of college basketball’s heavyweights.
Just a week before Christmas, the Tigers held their own on the road against Kansas State before dropping a 78-69 decision.
Gibbs played 33 minutes in the contest and turned in one of his best performances of the season with 13 points, hitting 5 of 6 shots from field while 3 for 4 from 3-point territory.
In their fourth game of the season, the Tigers lost to then No. 21-ranked Michigan State 69-41 in a game where Gibbs scored six points.
In one of the dramatic games of the season, Texas Southern lost 85-80 in overtime to Colorado. Gibbs added eight points and four rebounds against the Buffaloes.
In conference action, he also scored 11 points against Mississippi Valley State and 10 against Prairie View State.
Gibbs finished with nearly three assists per game and had a season high of nine in a loss to Akron on Dec. 27.
The former Indian earned his Division I scholarship after a solid senior season that included 26.3 points per game and 4.4 assists. He also pulled down 3.9 rebounds per contest.
Gibbs has elevated his game for the Tigers since his freshman year with the Tigers.
“I feel like my game is getting better,” he said.
The NCAA penalized both the Texas Southern basketball and football teams for what it called a “lack of institutional control,” but Gibbs is looking forward to competing for a spot in the NCAA tournament next year.
“We should be just fine next year,” he said.