As Shadow Mountain has emerged as a bona fide national power in the Arizona desert, the school’s rise has been inexorably tied to the personality of Mike Bibby. The former NBA point guard turned high school coach has transformed Shadow Mountain into a destination of its own, with a first-ever berth in the GEICO Nationals in April to show for his success.
Yet, like new Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, the former high school coach at Memphis East, Bibby has aspirations for much more, likely in the NCAA realm, where he could follow in Hardaway’s exact lineage.
As reported by our USA TODAY Sports Media Group partner Hoops Hype, Bibby appreciates all he has learned at Shadow Mountain and is genuinely happy with the coaching grind. Still, that doesn’t mean he isn’t yearning for a greater opportunity and challenge at a higher level.
“I know I could recruit kids from all over the country,” Bibby told Hoops Hype founder Alex Kennedy. “I have kids coming in from out of town, from other cities, to come play for me here [at Shadow Mountain High School]. We’ve had two kids who have been here since they were freshmen, but we had six or seven transfers come in from out of state just to come play here and learn. I’m not allowed to recruit here, but I think when I get to that next level, I’d be a great recruiter. When it comes to former players like Penny Hardaway, Brandon Roy and myself, I think our recruiting would be second to none.
“I think my style of basketball is attractive to players because I let guys play. If you feel like you can attack, then attack! I want you to be aggressive! I tell guys, ‘If you’re open, take the shot!’ If you are open and pass up a good shot, I’ll take you out of the game. I’ve heard a lot of college coaches say, ‘Oh, that’s not a good shot for that person to take.’ But if you put the time in and you’re putting the work in, there’s no shot that you can’t take. I get mad when guys don’t take shots. You don’t find a lot of coaches who do that.”
None of this is to distract from Bibby’s current goals. He goes into extensive detail during his interview with Kennedy about his coaching philosophy, and how he leans on teachings from his father — former USC coach Henry Bibby — as wel legendary Princeton coach Pete Carril, Rick Adelman, Mike Woodson and current Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. He also reinforces multiple times that his goal is developing the players on his team so they’re ready both there and at some level of professional basketball afterward.
And all of that seems truly genuine. Read it for yourself (no seriously, please do. Kennedy’s interview, as always, is terrific). Still, the fact that Bibby is already willing to admit there’s potentially a higher ceiling for his skills is a powerful notice to college program’s everywhere looking for the next hot name to lead their program. After Penny, it might by Bibby. He’d be perfectly open to that.