Thursday, April 25, 2013
2014 SF Bibbs should see stock rise
By Adam Finkelstein
Junior small forward Justin Bibbs (Dayton, Ohio/Montverde Academy) has experienced two unique challenges this year.
The first came during the high school season when he was asked to play a smaller, more complementary role on a loaded Montverde Academy (Fla.) team that featured the likes of elite seniors Kasey Hill, Dakari Johnson and Devin Williams. Bibbs obliged and experienced success as a result, contributing to a team that went on to win the 2013 National High School Invitational and finished No. 1 in the country in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings.
Less than a month later he is facing his second challenge, as his Ohio Basketball Club travel team is asking him to play a much different role as one of its primary offensive playmakers.
“It makes me attack on offense more,” Bibbs said. “Just be more aggressive.”
It was a role he played extremely well last weekend, emerging as one of the biggest stock risers at the Hoop Group’s Pittsburgh Jam Fest.
Bibbs’ highest three offers coming into last weekend were from Cincinnati, Xavier and Dayton, so it was no surprise that Mick Cronin, Chris Mack and Archie Miller were all following the prime target throughout the weekend.
They certainly had plenty of company, though, as Miami head coach Jim Larranaga was watching closely by Saturday afternoon, along with assistants from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Butler, Memphis and others.
The first thing you notice about Bibbs is his smooth southpaw skill set on the perimeter. At 6-foot-5, he has solid size from the wing. His jumper appeared virtually automatic when in rhythm, but what distinguished him was his ability to make shots either off the dribble or the catch and to make tough shots down the stretch of big possessions as well.
Bibbs also has some more subtle assets, including a good feel for the game and solid passing ability. In addition, he plays the game a little bigger than he is and creates other matchup problems by being left-handed.
With his recruitment now starting to take off, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that he’ll ultimately have plenty of high-major opportunities. And while that may be the story that most fixate on, the true story here is a young player who is uniquely prepared for the challenges of adapting to the college level because of what he’s already experienced.
At a younger age than most, he was asked to accept fewer minutes and shots for the good of his high school team, and he learned the benefits of making those individual sacrifices by winning a championship. He’s proven he’s capable of being a complementary piece but is equally equipped to step into a more signature role when the situation calls for it. In either situation, the constants have been a high skill set, good understanding of the game and an ability to make shots.
That sounds like a guy who is uniquely prepared for many of the obstacles most college freshmen have to overcome.