Finding passion on the court

Most kids who play basketball beyond their high school years likely fell in love with the game at a very young age. Isaiah Tubbs is an exception.

“I didn’t fall in love with basketball until about eighth grade,” Tubbs said. “That was when I grew 6 inches.”

Being 6-foot-7-inches often helps future players choose basketball as a hobby, but it was more than just his height that turned that hobby into a passion.

Isaiah grew up in the small town of Dalzell and attended the grade school there until seventh grade. Prior to getting involved with basketball, Tubbs said that he only was interested in football at recess, and that was where his interest in sports capped off.

He played basketball his fifth and sixth grade years, but even his mother admits that her son wasn’t very good.

“He was terrible,” his mother Mandy said. “For two years, it looked like my son was going to be the most uncoordinated kid on the team.”

His seeming lack of affinity for sports was not typical for a member of the Tubbs family. Brad Tubbs, Isaiah’s father, was 6-foot-3-inches and multi-sport athlete in high school.

Fortunately, in high school, those athletic genes came through for Isaiah. He played and started for the La Salle-Peru High School Cavalier Basketball team, setting fire to his playing career.

He played all four years at LP and won back to back regional championships in his varsity years. He believes that playing with his best friends was part of what enabled him to do as well as he did: “Not only did it let me enjoy the game more, but the chemistry we had on the court was something that could not be topped.”

Isaiah’s success in high school landed him a scholarship to Illinois Valley Community College. He’s enjoyed the opportunity to face his college-level competition, comparing it to his high school career.

“I have played in much faster paced games in college and gone against players with a lot more athleticism.”

Another notable difference that Tubbs highlighted was that he could take games off physically in high school, but had to bring it day in and day out to compete every game in his first collegiate season. Tubbs says it can take a toll, and he felt it.

Despite the potential for fatigue, he finished his freshman year averaging 7.3 points per game and five rebounds per game.

Like many players who love their sport, Tubbs can’t help planning his future around the game. He plans to teach and coach for a career.

“It’s definitely something I would love to do in life, even it’s only grade school. One big reason I want to get into teaching is so I can make an impact on kids’ lives in the classroom and on the court.”