Point guard Michael Bibby, who graduated from Phoenix Shadow Mountain in May after leading the school to two state championships in his basketball career, signed with South Florida on Friday.
Bibby, 6-foot-2 guard whose dad played seven years in the NBA , made an official visit to the school on Wednesday and Thursday, before making up his mind that it will be his college home.
It was a long, winding journey to finally find a landing spot.
He said the early offers he had in his high school career disappeared, and the search, at times, became a struggle. But it only fueled him to prove he can play.
“It’s whatever, I found a place that I like,” Bibby said. “I want to prove to all the other schools that didn’t really recruit me that I’m good. I found my spot.”
He was impressive in Las Vegas in July, hooking up with a Utah team. He said that a South Florida assistant coach saw him and relayed the information to the head coach.
“I just wondered why no schools wanted me,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m the greatest thing that ever happened in Arizona. I got Player of the Year in Arizona. I thought I did pretty good and played some of the top teams in the country. No one on our team got any looks. We’ve been a top team for quite some time in AIA.”
Bibby proved during his senior season that the two knee surgeries that shortened his junior season were not a factor to keep recruiters from following him.
He had one of his best games for last, leading the Matadors to a rout of Avondale Agua Fria in the Division II championship game.
Bibby, who averaged 19.3 points, five assists, four rebounds and 2.7 steals his senior season, said he connected with the players during his visit at South Florida, which is trying to rebuild. South Florida went 8-25 overall, 4-14 in the American Athletic Conference last season.
“They actually had a couple of new transfers,” he said. “A guy from Penn State and a guy from USC. With a lot of athletic guys, they said they needed a floor general. I feel I would be good for the team.”
Bibby is hoping to earn significant playing time as a freshman.
“I have to earn it,” he said. “But I have no doubt I will work hard and earn the respect of my teammates.”