Sports

Federal Way’s Hale will play basketball at North Idaho JC

Michael Hale will be playing basketball with a lot of familiar faces next year. The recent Federal Way High School graduate has accepted a scholarship to North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene.

Hale, a 5-foot-8 point guard, is part of a five-player recruiting class that contains four players from the greater Seattle area. The class also includes Rainier Beach graduate Emeka Iweka, Garfield grad DeAndre Taylor and Kentridge’s Shaquille McKissic.

Hale transferred to Federal Way from Decatur before his senior season and led the Eagles to the program’s first-ever Class 4A state championship. Federal Way downed Garfield in the state title game after rolling to the South Puget Sound League and West Central District championships.

Hale was the engine that made the Eagles go during their magical season.

This year, Hale averaged 14.4 points a game and led the SPSL in assists at over seven a game. He also shot over 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range and led the Eagles in steals.

The trip to the 2009 state tournament was Hale’s third during his prep career. He was the starting point guard at Decatur during his sophomore and junior seasons.

While at Decatur, Hale was a first-team, All-SPSL selection after averaging 14.2 points, three rebounds and five assists. He was an All-SPSL second-teamer after his sophomore season.

Hale is rated the No. 4-rated point guard in the state of Washington by NorthwestHoops.com and was selected to play in the Washington vs. Oregon All-Star Game, in which he won the slam dunk competition and led his Washington team to a 101-80 victory over Oregon.

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.

Hale is the second Federal Way guard to land a scholarship to play basketball in college. His backcourt mate, Jeffrey Forbes, signed early to play at Eastern Washington University.

During his senior year, Forbes averaged 11.2 points a game and was named second-team, All-SPSL North.

Tibbs' college career still up in the air

Hale's former Decatur teammate, Marcus Tibbs, is still up in the air where he will play basketball in college next year. According to Decatur head coach Kevin Olson, Tibbs is awaiting a decision by the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding his eligibility.

The University of Montana is petitioning because Tibbs is currently a non-qualifier due to his grades during his standard four-year high school career. Tibbs was granted a fifth year of eligibility by the WIAA before his senior season at Decatur.

If Montana has a scholarship available and Tibbs is ruled eligible, he will enroll there in the fall, according to Olson. If Montana does not have a scholarship available, Tibbs will likely attend Bellevue Community College in the fall and redshirt, giving him four years of eligibility and cheaper tuition.

Tibbs had given a verbal commitment earlier in the spring to play at North Idaho Junior College if the NCAA Clearinghouse ruled him ineligible. But decided to stay closer to home at Bellevue.

During the 2008-09 season, the 6-foot-1 guard led the Gators in scoring at 16.4 a game, including eight games with 20 or more points, and led Decatur to the SPSL 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 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.

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