Lipsey continues to cement legacy as hometown hero


Jacob Rice

Tamin Lipsey. ISU vs. IUPUI men’s basketball game. Nov. 7, 2022.

Hailey Dohnal, Assistant Sports Editor

Growing up in Ames, freshman Tamin Lipsey always knew he wanted to be a Cyclone. 

Lipsey was always in the stands of Hilton Coliseum and felt it was one of the best places to play in the country.

From knowing about the Iowa State culture to the fans and the coaching staff, Lipsey was drawn to Iowa State. 

“Think about how cool it is to have somebody that’s gone to those games as a kid, that’s gone to the camps, that’s been around our program and wants so badly to do well for the Cyclone fanbase, for his teammates, himself and his family,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. 

Otzelberger said Lipsey is in perfect alignment for what the Iowa State program looks for. 

“He’s got terrific poise,” Otzelberger said. “How he carries himself, the confidence he has, just the demeanor…his character comes out every single day.” 

Having connections and building relationships was another aspect that helped Lipsey to become a Cyclone. 

One of those teammate relationships is with Eastern Kentucky transfer Tre King. Due to transfer eligibility rules, King was unable to play in any games for the Cyclones until the Dec. 18 game against Western Michigan. 

Lipsey and King met on King’s visit to Iowa State. When King arrived in Ames, he watched Lipsey play in multiple games at Ames High School where Lipsey attended. 

“We’ve been pretty close ever since,” King said. 

Another close connection Lipsey has made this season is with freshman Demarion Watson. 

“We’re roommates so we hang out all the time,” Lipsey said. “We talk about basketball, and we don’t talk about basketball.” 

Before the 2022-23 season began, Lipsey was simply excited to get onto the court and experience the first basketball game of his collegiate career. 

While nerves were up and down, Lipsey was excited to have the opportunity he’s always dreamt about. 

“I’ve been dreaming of that first game for most of my life, and just to be out there with a great fan base and my teammates was just the greatest experience I could’ve asked for,” Lipsey said following the Cyclones 88-39 win against IUPUI in their season opener.

Tamin Lipsey nearly throws down a one handed dunk against McNeese on Dec. 11, 2022. (Tyler Coe)

Although Lipsey did not score against IUPUI, he led the team in assists (5). Lipsey also mentioned he was trying to get the feel for things in the first couple of games, but that at the end of the day, he was not trying to rush anything and was just playing basketball. 

“We knew when we recruited him [Lipsey], he’s a quarterback in football; he’s got that natural leadership quality and skill,” Otzelbeger said prior to the start of the season. 

Moreover, Lipsey currently has a career-high of 12 points which he earned in their loss against Connecticut and played 35 out of 40 minutes against Milwaukee on Nov. 20. 

Following the first game of the season, Lipsey mentioned differences he felt between high school and college basketball. 

“From the pace of the game and the physicality of the game, high school is a lot easier to get up on guys and steal the ball from them,” Lipsey said. 

However, at the collegiate level, Lipsey said you need to be stronger defensively and know the mechanics of each player you encounter. In order for Lipsey to be tougher on the defensive side, he brings 100% effort when guarding someone. 

“That’s what everyone’s mindset should be,” Lipsey said. “You’re not going to score on me, and I’m going to make it difficult for you.”

Lipsey had four steals against North Dakota and five rebounds against Iowa. 

While Lipsey is at the collegiate level now, there is someone in particular who helped Lipsey get to where he is today. 

“I knew he was going to be special,” said Vance Downs, the head coach for the Ames High School men’s basketball team. 

Downs, Lipsey and the rest of the team were state champions in 2022. Prior to that, the Little Cyclones had not won a championship since 2010. 

Downs said although Lipsey was battling an injury during the majority of that season, he was everything you could want in a point guard. 

“He brings a presence, he runs the show [and] he can do just about everything,” Downs said. “He certainly took us to a level we hadn’t been at for some time.”

While Lipsey looked at schools like Michigan and Duke, Downs knew Lipsey had a passion for Iowa State. 

“With any young men in our program, I hope they go wherever they’re really happy,” Downs said. “It’s neat that he chose Iowa State, but it’s really neat to know that he was so excited about making that decision.”

Throughout all of the craziness college brings, Lipsey has also taken the time throughout his freshman year to give back to the Ames community. 

“I know what they’re thinking when they watch the games,” Lipsey said. “So, I know if I was still in their shoes, I think it would be awesome if any of the players would talk to me or just give me an autograph, so I do whatever I can,” Lipsey said.