As on the basketball court, West Chicago senior Tai Bibbs' college decision puts himself in great position to score.
In news he announced Saturday, on Friday night the 6-foot-3 guard committed to coach Jim Engles and Columbia University, the Ivy League school in New York City.
His goal is to play professional basketball in the United States or abroad. Having earned a 4.7 grade-point average at West Chicago, Bibbs believes Columbia can serve as a springboard on and off the court.
"Through the process I was told to use your basketball to set you up for life, get a good education. At the end of the day you're not going to play ball forever," Bibbs said.
"Not a bad Plan B, I guess you could say."
Captain of the Daily Herald 2016-17 DuPage All-Area Boys Basketball Team, Bibbs chose the Lions over finalists California-Davis, Loyola and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. He entered his senior year already having committed to Drake, then decommitted in January. Since then he attracted 19 college offers, he said. Visits by college coaches were a constant at West Chicago practices and games.
Columbia offered Bibbs before he decommitted from Drake and again afterward. Between Engles and Lions assistant Jean Bain, they saw Bibbs three times after he reopened his recruitment. The last time came Jan. 24 at Glenbard South when Bibbs made a free throw with no time on the clock to beat the Raiders 58-57.
"They just liked, I guess, that I fit in real well with the team. They think we'll all mesh very well together," Bibbs said.
For Bibbs the clincher came when he visited Columbia March 26-28.
"The people there were really great," he said. "I got along with everyone. It's a very diverse campus, I just liked everything about it."
Columbia finished 11-16 this season in Engles' first year at the helm, 5-9 and fifth in the Ivy League.
Bibbs was listed as point guard at West Chicago but is equally comfortable at the 2-guard spot.
"A scoring guard, I guess, is what they see me as," Bibbs said.
He left no doubt about that this winter. West Chicago's third all-time scorer, Bibbs averaged 26 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals, with a high game of 41 points. He made 74 3-point baskets and shot 77 percent from the free-throw line.
Thus ends a recruiting saga that started the summer before his junior year.
"I'm very thankful and blessed to be in the position I am, but it gets stressful," he said. "I'm very blessed for that but, yeah, I'm happy it's over."