The Former Western Carolina Catamount is Now a Vermont Catamount
The Vermont Catamounts picked up their fourth commit of the year, this time dipping into the transfer portal to find former Western Carolina guard, Kameron Gibson. The former (WCU) Catamount and now future (UVM) Catamount called Western Carolina home for the previous three seasons, where he averaged 10.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 65 career games. However, the most important stat line to keep in mind with Gibson is his three-point shooting, which for his career sits at very respectable 39%.
The Cincinnati, OH native is officially listed at 6’3”, 192 lbs and fits the mold for exactly the type of player John Becker and Vermont prioritize from the guard position. His perimeter shooting is without a doubt his best trait – something Vermont is in dire need of. However, his ability to inter-change seamlessly between the 1-3 spots certainly helped him gain favorable appeal in the eyes of Vermont’s coaching staff.
When looking at Gibson’s stats over the previous three years there is however a notable red flag – his production has dropped every year.
(Freshman) 2018-19: 32 games played, 30.8 minutes, 13.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 40% 3PT
(Sophomore) 2019-20: 17 games played, 24.1 minutes, 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 35% 3PT
(Junior) 2020-21: 16 games played, 19.3 minutes, 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 39% 3PT
After a very promising freshman year, Gibson has unfortunately seen his career start to decline. Why? To be honest there isn’t a clear-cut answer. Midway through his sophomore campaign Gibson would suffer a season ending injury that lingered into his junior season just a year ago. That certainly has to be accounted for. Likewise, after his freshman season Western Carolina added a guard by the name of Mason Faulkner who quickly asserted himself as the (WCU) Catamounts leading scorer. Faulkner’s presence, along with the on-going rehabilitation of Gibson’s previous injury should be taken into consideration when analyzing his steady drop off in production.
Unrelated to Gibson’s production, but likely a reason why he chose to depart from Western Carolina is the arrival of a new coaching staff. Former (WCU) Catamount head coach Mark Prosser left for Winthrop after the conclusion on the 2020-21 season, opening the door for former Wake Forest standout Justin Gray to take the reigns. New coaching staffs often mean plenty of roster turnover. Gibson likely knew that his role at WCU would be shrinking even further and decided it would be best move on now. The Catamount to Catamount jump feels eerily like Eddie Murphy deciding to search for a wife in Queens, NY.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Sadly, there is not a lot of relevant tape on Gibson to refer to, but Western Carolina does have a few of their games available on YouTube should you want to see how the (WCU) Cats play and Gibson’s role for them. I highly recommend checking out their game against Jacksonville University. The (WCU) Cats were down 22 points with just over six minutes left in regulation and had a 0.1% chance of winning. Can you guess what happens next?
Strengths – Great perimeter shooter. Prototypical size for a guard. Inter-changeable for the 1-3 spots. Solid defender. Above average athleticism. Good ball-handling skills. Does not need much separation to get shot off. Has had previous success. Proven he can contribute at the division one level.
Weaknesses – Production has declined every year. Possible lingering injury concerns. Is not a three-level scorer. Limited production outside of shooting. Limited potential/upside. Streaky shooter (good and bad). Won’t “wow” you with his style of play. Is from Ohio.
Gibson’s Fit at Vermont
One of Gibson’s weaknesses is that he’ll likely never “wow” you with his style of play. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, as most players that come through Vermont aren’t going to be jumping out of the gym or breaking opponent’s ankles left and right. Gibson was brought in to essentially fill a role and while it might not be overly exciting, it’s exactly what the (UVM) Catamounts need at this time.
Two of the biggest areas of concern for the (UVM) Cats heading into the offseason were finding a reliable three-point shooter and improving bench production. Gibson should be able to adequately help with both. His shooting can be streaky at times, but when he’s on, he’s ON and with a 39% career three-point mark he’s definitely a guy you want to feed off of offensively.
On the surface the addition of Gibson seems odd considering the already logjam at guard with Ben Shungu, Justin Mazzulla, Robin Duncan, Aaron Deloney, Eric Beckett all vying for minutes. And that’s without factoring the addition of two more guards in Sam Alamutu and Evan Gulliory. Yet unlike Alamutu and Gulliory, Gibson is an already proven commodity, meaning he should have leg up on those youngster next fall. Due to his size and shooting ability, Gibson is also likely to ahead of Beckett and possibly Deloney as well in the pecking order. While Duncan is good at a number of different facets, shooting is not one of them, therefore it would not come as shock to see Gibson ultimately supplant Duncan or even Mazzulla should he find his stroke early on.
Overall Gibson’s addition to Vermont appears to be a fruitful one. The coaching staff has likely outlined what type of role they envision Gibson to take on and hopefully we’ll all be hearing “Kameron Gibson for THREEEEEEEE” echo quite often through the confines of Patrick Gym next year.
*Unrelated, but Vermont and Western Carolina need to schedule a recurring yearly game to determine who the best Catamount really is. I’m looking at you Jeff Schulman.