by Juliet Crichton
and Justice Smith ’19

While many Hokies may already know that shooting guard Justin Bibbs is a force on Tech’s basketball team, the rising senior’s skills extend well beyond the three-point line.

“When I was a kid, I used to draw action shots of basketball players,” said Bibbs, a Dayton, Ohio, native majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in graphic design. “They would always have some type of funny face that they do. I always just focused on that.”

As with most activities, the practice paid off—quite literally. “In high school, it was a big thing to get tattoos early. My mom would never let me do that,” Bibbs said. “A lot of people would ask me to draw them up something, like a cross or some religious thing, and I would.”

A Bibbs pencill drawing

His mother, however, was not a big fan of his giving away his work to other people. “She was mad because she thought my artwork was worth more than 5 or 2 dollars,” Bibbs said, “but it was easy money for me.”

A Bibbs pencil drawing

Off the rim: Justin Bibbs, a senior majoring in multimedia journalism, found a way to combine his artistic skill, intellect, and athleticism at Virginia Tech.

Besides, Bibbs genuinely enjoys drawing. “It makes me feel good,” he said. “You know the feeling you get when you’re hungry—like I need to go to the kitchen and get a snack—it’s like that. I just get a feeling and pull out a piece of paper and start drawing. My dad tells me to never ignore that feeling because a lot of people can’t do it. So every time I get that feeling, I just do it.”

Bibbs describes his approach to drawing as visual, not unlike a talented guard’s ability to “see” the court. “A lot of times, I just look at a picture and draw the picture,” he said, “but sometimes there could be a deeper meaning from that.”

Although he has two uncles who played in the NFL—one of them is College Football and NFL Hall of Famer Michael Haynes—Bibbs understands that a career in professional sports can be a tough route. Basketball may be his focus for now, but his future will likely be filled with plenty of pencils and paper.

A Bibbs pencill drawing

Bibbs and his pencill drawings

Juliet Crichton is the web manager for the Office of Communications and Marketing in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Justice Smith, a junior majoring in multimedia journalism, was a summer intern with Virginia Tech Magazine.