Clarksville, Ark.-University of the Ozarks sophomore post player Brent Gibbs is off to a fast start to the season.
After finishing third in the nation in field goal percentage last season, more and more opposing American Southwest Conference coaches and players have taken notice of the 6-5 power forward this year. Gibbs, a 1998 graduate of Greenwood High School, led the University of the Ozarks in field goal percentage as a freshman shooting 65 percent last season, which placed him tops among ASC players and third in NCAA Division III. According to head coach Johnny Johnson, Gibbs is again a key player this year for the Eagles, who are 8-0 and 4-0 in the conference. “I look for Brent to have even bigger numbers this season,” said Johnson. “If we are to be successful, Brent will need to perform like he did last year, and he has. He shot so well as a freshman last season, and he’s always around the ball. He knows his role on the team and he does everything we ask him to do.” Gibbs has already lived up to those expectations. Gibbs was recently named American Southwest Conference Player of the Week after averaging 16.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in two conference wins. Gibbs also had seven steals and 4 blocks in those wins. For the season Gibbs is again shooting 65 percent from the field and averaging 13 points per game. Gibbs uses his 6-5, 230 pound frame to muscle his way to the basket and put himself in position to score. While Gibbs body makes him more of a power player, he does play a finesse game, often running the floor for transition baskets. “For a big kid, he runs the floor well, and he handles the ball good too,” Johnson added. Gibbs finished third on the team in scoring and rebounding a year ago and had a breakout game against conference foe LeTourneau University when he scored 19 points on 9 of 11 shooting. Behind the steady play of Gibbs, the Eagles finished second in the ASC and made the playoffs for the first in five years. The Eagles were picked to finish second in a preseason conference poll this year, and Gibbs now believes opposing teams have been looking to shoot down his team. “We just have to live up to our preseason ranking,” said Gibbs. “No conference game will be easy for us because everyone will be after us. Last year we were the hunters, now we are the hunted.” Gibbs credits his High School coach for the success he has had at the college level. “Coach (Lance) Taylor taught me everything and now I use his advice here. I’m also thankful Coach Johnson has given me a chance,” Gibbs said. Ozarks next home game will be on December 30th against Rhema Bible College.