Decatur's Tibbs inks with North Idaho basketball

The basketball career of Marcus Tibbs looks like it’s going to continue in Idaho.

The Decatur High School senior guard has signed a letter of intent to play at North Idaho Junior College in Coeur d’Alene.

North Idaho has developed into one of the premier junior college basketball programs in the West. The Cardinals won the Scenic West Athletic Conference title last season with a 27-4 record. The SWAC includes perennial junior college powerhouses like the College of Southern Idaho, Snow College and Salt Lake Community College.

Tibbs, a 6-foot-1 guard, was the Gators’ floor leader all season long after being granted a fifth-year of eligibility by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) before the season started. Tibbs ran into academic issues during his freshman year at Decatur because of a death in the family.

During the 2008-09 season, Tibbs led the Gators in scoring at 16.4 a game, including eight games with 20 or more points, and led Decatur to the South Puget Sound League South Division championship. The Gators also finished third at the West Central District Tournament before losing two-straight games at the state tournament.

Tibbs also shot an amazing 58 percent from the field and led the Gators in assists (6.5 a game), blocked shots and steals. He also grabbed six rebounds a game.

Tibbs’ senior season concluded an ultra-impressive three-year career at Decatur. The 6-foot-1 guard earned first-team, All-SPSL honors following all three seasons after leading the Gators to three appearances at the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Championships.

As a junior, Tibbs led Decatur in scoring at 18.3 points a game and scored in double figures in 28 of the Gators’ 30 games, including 12 20-point games.

He was also solid during the 2008 state tournament, leading Decatur into the state semifinals and an eventual sixth-place finish. He was named all-tournament, first-team after averaging 16.7 points inside the Tacoma Dome, including 22 during a semifinal loss to Federal Way.

During the 2006-07 season, Tibbs averaged 17 points, five rebounds and nearly three assists a game and was a key reason why the Gators won the coveted West Central District championship.

There is still a chance that Tibbs could end up at a Division I school in the fall. The University of Montana has shown a lot of interest in Tibbs

According to Decatur head coach Kevin Olson, Montana can not offer Tibbs a scholarship because he is currently a non-qualifier due to his grades during his standard four-year high school career. Montana, or any other Division I school, can still petition the NCAA for Tibbs to become eligible. But they can’t do that until he completes the current semester at Dectatur, which won’t be completed until the middle of June when the Federal Way school district ends its school year.

“The NCAA will then make a ruling whether to accept this year’s transcript for eligibility,” Olson said. “So we will know this, most likely, in July.”

Even after signing his letter of intent to play at North Idaho, Tibbs could still be released from his scholarship to sign with a four-year school.

“If Montana has a scholarship available, they have said they would give it to Marcus,” Olson said. “However, most likely, they will not have a scholarship available in July.”

The most-likely scenario would be for Tibbs to play his freshman season at North Idaho and then sign with Montana in the fall and be there for the following three years, according to Olson.

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