John Tibbs is not just your average freshman member of the men’s basketball team at Mt. Hood – and that’s great for the Saints.
Although Tibbs’ scoring stats are not the greatest, the 23-year-old leads his team in important ways. He manages to get the ball to his scorers and as a result is seventh in the NWAC in total assists for the season. He has 113 on the year, for a 4.35 average per game.
“I love to find Elijah (Fuller) and Payton (Fullmer) on the wings. They’re spot-up shooters, they usually don’t miss,” said the 5-foot 9-inch point guard.
While he continues to work on his shooting, Tibbs has always been a facilitator and knows that his strong point is passing and focuses on that skill. “In practice I’ve been working on reading (defenses), as in making the right decisions… I mainly work on the right reads so that we can be successful,” he said.
Tibbs’ maturity makes him stand out in other ways, too.
He is a very vocal leader during games and in practice. “I make sure everybody is on the same page, make sure no one takes days off,” he said., “I am ‘the voice’ in practice.”
Tibbs sees himself as the Saints’ emotional leader. “I feel that if I’m not in that type of mood, they’re not gonna follow me, they’re not gonna be in that type of mood,” he said of his teammates. “I like to stay positive the whole time, it’s kinda natural, to be honest. I’ve always been the silliest (in my family).”
There’s nothing silly about his work ethic, though. He has always enjoyed putting in hard work in practice so he can see it pay off in the future. “The grind, honestly, to get better – I love that I can get better every single day, and I bring it 100 percent every day,” he explained.
Tibbs grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and attended Eldorado High School. He said he heard about Saints head coach John Hawley from a friend and decided to come out and play for him, and has not regretted his decision.
“The knack that (Hawley) has for the game, the love; he really wants us to win,” he said, describing his coach. “He stepped it up from the beginning. We were slacking and then, as we see that we need to start winning more games… he really piped down and started (leading) some defensive practices.”
While only a freshman at Mt. Hood, Tibbs is the oldest member of the team and has insight few others have. “I have the most experience on the team, and I am the older one of the group, so I bring a lot of leadership and wisdom,” he said.
Immediately after high school, Tibbs went to New Mexico Junior College where he played one year of basketball before taking a break from school. When he was 21 he had a son, Midus – a unique name, with a unique story behind it.
“I like a lot of Greek Mythology, so I took it from one of the past kings, (Midas): He’s like, everything you touch turns to gold… the story behind that is it’s kind of a curse though, too, because everything you touch turns to gold,” he explained.
“I see it as making proper decisions in life, so that’s why I named him that.”
Midus is living back in Las Vegas with his mother, while Tibbs continues his schooling here in the Northwest. It was a hard decision for him to leave his son, but one he knows was the best for the both of them. “I thought of it as, (leaving Midus behind) would be an opportunity for him too,” he said.
After his college playing days are over, Tibbs would like to pursue his degree in accounting and hopefully stick around basketball, he said.
He would like to either keep playing basketball or become a coach, sharing his joy of the game.
“I would love to coach my son,” he said. “I’d love to bring him up around it, too.”