Ames freshman point guard Tamin Lipsey discusses his mindset as he prepares for his second USA Basketball experience. Matthew Bain, Sports writer
AMES, Ia. — All Iowa Attack's high school boys' teams posed for a photo in the club's fieldhouse, huddled behind Michael Jacobson, Talen Horton-Tucker and Tyrese Haliburton, who came to speak to the players before their first practice.
Ames freshman point guard Tamin Lipsey stood in the back row, balancing on tip-toes next to Bishop Garrigan 6-foot-8 forward Angelo Winkel.
And thus began All Iowa Attack's season. It's officially time for AAU basketball.
For Lipsey, a blue-chip prospect in the Class of 2022, it's also time for USA Basketball.
The 6-foot-2 point guard was recently invited to the USA Basketball Junior National Team training camp at the Final Four in Minneapolis. It's his second experience with Team USA, as he also participated in the Junior National Team minicamp in October.
"I feel like the first one, I was nervous a lot," Lipsey told the Register. "I’m more comfortable going into this next one. I’m really excited. Just stay confident, don't get down if I miss some shots because no one is perfect, no one is going to make every shot. I’m just going to go work hard and learn a lot."
USA Basketball spots are reserved for this country's cream-of-the-crop talents. Lipsey, who already holds an offer from Iowa State and interest from North Carolina, Iowa and Michigan, was one of 29 freshmen invited to October's minicamp and one of 26 invited to April's training camp.
Do the math: That means he's on track to be a top-30, upper-echelon 2022 recruit.
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Lipsey proved this winter that his pre-high school hype had merit. As a freshman starting on varsity, he averaged 17 points, 4.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game while shooting 52.3 percent and 37.9 percent from long range. He was also one of the state's best perimeter defenders.
Blue-chip basketball star Tamin Lipsey talks about getting an offer to play for the Cyclones Zachary Boyden-Holmes, DesMoines
Keith "Lefty" Moore, All Iowa Attack's boys' program director, said he saw Lipsey's confidence grow week by week during his freshman season, and that his October experience with USA Basketball was a catalyst.
"You can just tell he’s picked it up a whole lot," Moore said, "because he got a chance to go out and play with those guys from USA Basketball and see what other guys in the country are like. So it was good in two ways. One: It helped him understand he’s got to work hard and he's got to keep getting better.
"And two: He knows he can play with those guys."
Lipsey and the 64 other training camp invitees from the 2020, 2021 and 2022 classes are set to arrive in Minneapolis on April 4. They will train twice on April 5. On April 6, the players will scrimmage teams from the NBA Global Academies and then attend the Final Four games that night. On April 7, the 2022 class will scrimmage each other at the Minnesota Timberwolves practice facility.
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Calling his first USA Basketball experience "humbling," Lipsey said he looks forward to practicing alongside such talented peers again.
"It helps a lot because you can learn from each guy," he said. "They all do different stuff that’s unique, so you can really learn from them just playing with them and getting to know their game style. Taking stuff from what they do and putting it into your game."
Lipsey is slated to play two age levels up with All Iowa Attack's 17U team this spring and summer. He also told the Register that, as of Thursday, his plan was to play at least one tournament with Minnesota-based club Howard Pulley, a Nike EYBL circuit club.
As a USA Basketball member with a successful freshman year under his belt, Lipsey will have plenty of big-name schools monitoring him this AAU season.
"I’m expecting him to have an unbelievable summer," Moore said. "I think he’s ready, he's geared up. And the thing about him that I keep forgetting is he’s only a ninth-grader — you know what I mean? I’ve been coaching him since fourth grade, and it’s like, 'God, I’ve still got him for two more years after this.'"
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.