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Pitt's Gibbs will display his skills at NBA draft workout

Pitt will have to wait until the last minute to learn if Ashton Gibbs is staying in the NBA Draft.

The all-Big East junior guard will participate in a mass workout for draft prospects May 7-8 at the New Jersey Nets' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J.

May 8 is the deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft and retain college eligibility. The 6-foot-2 Gibbs, who led Pitt in scoring each of the past two seasons, will use the workout to gauge interest in pro teams before making his decision. Gibbs, a Scotch Plains, N.J., native, has not hired an agent.

"I talked to Ashton and his dad (Temple), and I've encouraged him to attend the workouts," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "There is not a lot of time or opportunity. That's what I am encouraging him to do."

The Nets devised the workout as a way for underclassmen to be seen by NBA teams during the two-week window between the April 24 early entry deadline and the last day to withdraw from the draft. Rules prohibit college players from missing classes to attend workouts.

All 30 NBA teams are expected at the combine, which will feature 40 invitees and include 5-on-5 scrimmages.

Working quickly

New assistant coach Bill Barton isn't wasting any time.

The same day he was introduced as the newest member of Dixon's staff, Barton was on the road recruiting for the Panthers in New England.

The former Marshall assistant replaces Pat Skerry, who left after one season to become head coach at Towson. Barton, 50, worked last season at Marshall under former Pitt assistant Tom Herrion and, prior to that, was an assistant coach at Duquesne for three years.

"I was aware of how Pitt does things," Barton said. "I can tell I'm going to like it. Whatever they need me to do, I'm willing to do."

Barton was one of the leading candidates for the job last year, when Dixon hired Skerry from Providence to replace Herrion.

"This wasn't the first time I'd given him consideration," Dixon said of Barton. "He's really a balanced and well-rounded coach."

Barton, who produced more than 70 Division I players during his 10 years at Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep, is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the East Coast. After spending the past year in Huntington, W.Va., he feels at home back in Pittsburgh.

"It's a great place," he said. "I like the atmosphere. I like the people. I like the Steelers."

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