INDIANAPOLIS - The IUPUI Athletics Department and Head Basketball Coach Ron Hunter announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the Jaguars, beginning in 2010. The trio of Donovan Gibbs (Louisville, Ky./Iroquois), P.J. Hubert (Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) and Mitchell Patton (Vincennes, Ind./South Knox) will all be true freshman next season.
“This is what I would consider, a dream class for us,” Hunter said. “These are three smart kids that will be great additions to our program. They’re all tough and will immediately make us a better basketball program and they all fill needs for us. I know my staff worked hard all summer long to see as many games and as many kids as possible. These were three kids that we wanted to get and we’re excited for our fans to get to see them play.”
Gibbs, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward, averaged 15.6 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior and was pegged the Region No. 6 Player of the Year. He helped Iroquois to a 19-8 overall record and district title. Gibbs was ranked as high as the No. 5 prospect from the state of Kentucky and received interest from Butler, Oklahoma State, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Xavier and Ohio. He played AAU with the Shining Stars-McFarland team and intends on majoring in engineering.
“Donovan was one of our top targets from the get-go,” Hunter said. “We see him being the next in a long line of successful forwards in our program - a guy like a Don Carlisle. He’s a well built 6-7 kid with some length and a ton of athleticism. He’s very active and just plays with a toughness that you can’t teach. Around the rim, he’s a good finisher and he’s really worked on extending his range. Plus, everyone says he’s such a hard worker and really works to develop his game.”
Hubert, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard, averaged 14.3 points per game as a junior and knocked down 37 percent of his three-point attempts. He, along with UW-Green Bay signee Daniel Turner, helped the Marauders to a 17-win season a year ago while Hubert played AAU ball for the Bloomington-based Indiana Elite squad. Hubert chose IUPUI over interest from IPFW, UWGB and Eastern Illinois.
“P.J. is a great shooter. Not a good shooter – a great shooter,” Hunter said. “One of the things we really struggled with last year was shooting the basketball so I told my assistants to go out and get us the best shooter they could find. To a man, everyone said that P.J. was the absolute best out there. He’s got a beautiful stroke. He’s a smart kid and I think he’s going to be a fixture on the wings for us for a long time. I’m really excited to get him here and get him in the program and see him blossom.”
Patton, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound post, averaged 15.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 blocked shots per game as a junior and earned First Team All-Blue Chip Conference and All-Area honors. He was an Honorable Mention All-Conference pick as a sophomore after averaging 10 points and five rebounds per game. The past two years, Patton has helped South Knox to a 35-12 record and the big man holds South Knox’s top two single-season totals in blocked shots in his career.
“Mitchell is a very skilled big man. He passes well, he rebounds and he just does a good job of utilizing his size and making sure he’s in the right place at the right time,” Hunter said. “He has the potential to be a matchup problem in our league. Not many teams have big men that like to step out on the floor, but that’s what we see in Mitchell. He has the ability to step out and hit the 17, 18 footer or he can go down on the blocks and play with his back to the basket. He’s a really intelligent kid too. He plays smart basketball and is good about making the smart play.”
Gibbs, Hubert and Patton join Dayton-transfer Stephen Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) as the Jaguars’ newcomers for next season. Thomas is sitting out the 2009-10 season in compliance with NCAA Division I transfer rules, but is practicing with the team this season.
IUPUI was 16-14 overall last season, led by Summit League Newcomer of the Year Robert Glenn (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) and the league’s top scoring freshman, Alex Young (Indianapolis, Ind./Northwest). Hunter’s squad will open the 2009-10 season on the road at Drake on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 1:05 p.m. CST in the Glenn Wilkes Classic.