Monday, March 19, 2012

Was Shane Gibson's Season the Greatest in Sacred Heart History?

Shane Gibson’s all-NEC type performance this season has motivated me to look back in Sacred Heart’s division 1 history.  It isn’t a deep history – this season was SHU’s 13th in division 1 college basketball – but I wanted to compare Gibson’s magical season with other great individual seasons from former Sacred Heart players.  As a result, I’m giving you the five greatest individual performances in a season in Sacred Heart division 1 history!

A couple of things to keep in mind – I strictly looked at an individual’s season performance and did not take their entire college career into account.  Also, I ranked these seasons like I would be ranking a Player of the Year candidate.  Therefore, I focused solely on individual statistics, rather than how much value the player brought to his particular team.  Most of the time, Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player designations correlate well, but other times they don’t.

5. Corey Hassan, senior season (2009-2010)
Hassan the Assassin, a nickname I found on his Facebook page years ago, scored the ball with deadly consistency in his final season.  His 19.2 points per game led the Northeast Conference (NEC), but perhaps more impressive was his 7.5 rebounds he grabbed per game, good enough for 5th overall in the NEC.  Not bad for a 6-foot-4 shooting guard!  Currently, Hassan is carving out a productive career in Europe, which isn’t surprising given his ability to score the basketball.

4. Drew Shubik, senior season (2007-2008)
In my opinion, Drew Shubik had one of the more underrated careers in Sacred Heart history.  For his senior campaign, all he did was average 11 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.  He’s the type of player every veteran college roster needs, an all around selfless leader who can play multiple roles for his team.  Shubik did just that in his last season of eligibility, by serving as the Pioneer's point guard despite being built as a wing player.  He still to this day was my favorite Pioneer to watch, although Joey Henley and Gibson are a close second.

3. Joey Henley, senior season (2008-2009)
Speaking of one of my favorite Pioneers, Joey Henley, an undersized 6-foot-5 power forward, had an excellent senior season which was good enough to earn him All-NEC First Team honors.  Despite consistently facing bigger forwards and centers, Henley managed to average 15.7 points and 6.7 boards per game while shooting a league best 62.6% from the field.  In addition, the uber-athlete excelled as a post defender, blocking 1.3 shots per game.

2. Kibwe Trim, senior season (2005-2006)
Admittedly, I jumped on the Sacred Heart bandwagon (who knew there was one!) when the team first challenged for the NEC Championship in 2006-2007.  Kibwe Trim had unfortunately graduated by then, so I didn’t see SHU’s greatest post presence play all that much.  A quick look at his 2005-06 stats however, paints a wonderful picture – Trim led the NEC in points per game (19.2) and effective field goal percentage (61.8%), while finishing 5th in rebounds per game (8.6).  He was an efficient beast in the paint and has gone on to have a respectable professional career playing overseas.  It’s really a shame he wasn’t born a year or two later.  He could have been the final piece of the puzzle that pushed the Pioneers to that ever-elusive NCAA tournament berth.

1. Shane Gibson, junior season (2011-2012)
We are all so lucky that Gibson has one more year of eligibility remaining, because this season was just fantastic.  His 22.0 points per game is most ever by a Pioneer and ranked 5th nationally, but it was his efficiency shooting the basketball that made his season so sensational.  For a shooting guard to average an effective field goal percentage of 59.8% is incredible, especially when you consider the high quantity of shots he must put up game after game and the defensive attention he received as SHU's only reliable scorer.  In our recent interview, Dave Bike clearly implied that Gibson has yet to hit his ceiling as a player and could stand to improve in a couple more facets of his game.  So you're saying Gibson can get better? That's a scary thought for NEC competition.

Sacred Heart fans and alums, did I overlook a player's performance?

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