Athlete Spotlight: Luwane Pipkins, Men’s Basketball

Luwane Pipkins #2
Men’s Basketball, Sophomore

Luwane Pipkins hails from Chicago, Illinois. The 5’11 sophomore guard was recruited by Florida State, Minnesota, and West Virginia among others, but ultimately signed with UMass, originally to play under Coach Derek Kellogg, who was fired after last season.

Pipkins was one of the eight holdovers from Kellog’s tenure, now at the disposal of first year Head Coach Matt McCall. Pipkins came into this season with tons of experience, averaging 27.5 minutes per game last year as a freshman, playing over 30 minutes in 17 of UMass’s 33 games.

Luwane was expected to start alongside Maryland grad transfer Jaylen Brantley, but a previously undiagnosed heart condition shut Brantley down for the season and beyond. Now the team’s primary ball handler and top scoring option, Pipkins has had to take on tremendous responsibility of running the offense as an underclassman.

Pipkins has flourished this season averaging 20.9 points per game, and shooting 41% from 3 point range, while averaging 35.1 minutes per game. His marquee performance was on January 10th when Luwane lead a 21-point comeback victory vs LaSalle in overtime. Pipkins broke the 50-year-old UMass all-time scoring record with 44 points, hitting 15 of 27 shots from the field.

Now Airing: The Luwane Pipkins Show. The sophomore from Chicago has come up clutch time and time for the Minutemen this season. On February 3rd vs Dayton, Pipkins banked in a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired in one of the most ridiculous shots you’ll ever see:

WATCH: Luwane Pipkins banks in wild 3 point shot as shot clock expires:

We had the pleasure of interviewing the sophomore sensation to better get to know him:

Q: Outside of the Basketball program, what has made UMass a great choice for you as a student athlete?

A: “I enjoy the social life and atmosphere.”

Q: Do you have any career aspirations after you leave UMass? Any interesting passions outside of basketball? If so, what are they?

“I have thought about working with kids who don’t have father figures in their lives, who have no guidance. I want to put them on the right path in life.”

Q: What is the best advise a coach, family member, or close friend/mentor ever gave you?

A: “Shoot until you hit, shoot until you miss.”

Q: Do you have any game day rituals you like to follow? Any specific songs you must listen to before tip-off?

A: “I always listen to ’38 Baby’ by Lil Baby. It’s must before every game.”

Q: What is your favorite TV show or movie? Do you have a favorite food?

A: “My favorite TV shows are Criminal Minds and Martin. Favorite movie? I would have to say Loving Basketball, oh and Black Panther. I’ve already seen it twice.”

Q: Who is your favorite professional athlete of all-time?

A: “Muggsy Bogues. I identify with him because of his size. He’s small. He brought small people back. Now we got players like IT. Muggsy started it. He gave us hope.”

Q: Do you have any messages/comments for the student section or student community?

A: “So far the student section has been good. They’ve helped in some big games for us. Just hope they keep coming back, and rocking the gym. Every time I look over there, I always smile. It’s funny what I see sometimes looking over there. I hope they keep showing support.”

Pipkins has developed into one of the team’s strongest leaders, as he greatly helped freshman Carl Pierre transition to the college game. Pierre boast’s an elite 47.2% from 3, good for 28th in the nation.

Pierre and Pipkins have helped UMass to a 3-point FG% of 39.1%, ranking 29th in the country. This is drastic improvement from last season, as UMass shot only 29.7% from 3, placing them 339th out of 351 Division 1 teams.

As the month of March nears, the college basketball regular season is winding down. UMass currently sits at 11-16 (4-10) and has surprised many with quality wins over Providence and Georgia, while almost upsetting conference rival Rhode Island last week. If UMass can continue can split their last 4 games going into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, many would see that as an accomplishment given the team’s lack of depth, having only 5 healthy scholarship players the past several games.

Next season UMass will be stacked with depth and talent as the program will add 4 transfers and 2 freshmen while only losing 1 senior, CJ Anderson. Look out for the Minutemen next season as the expectation will be a deep run in the A-10 tournament and nothing less.

Remaining Games:

Wednesday 2/21: Home vs Virginia Commonwealth 
Saturday 2/24: Away vs George Mason
Tuesday 2/28: Away vs Richmond
Saturday 3/2: Home vs Duquesne

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