Almost immediately following Drew Edwards announcement that he will play out his last year of eligibility away from Providence next year, UMass guard Luwane Pipkins let everyone know that he will be making his way to Friartown to finish out his collegiate career.
I just want to say thanks to all the coaches that contacted me during this time, but after careful consideration I have decided to use my last year of eligibility to play for coach Ed Cooley and the Providence friars. #friartown
— ✨ (@lpip_chefteam) March 24, 2019
Immediately following the announcement, Luwane Pipkins instantly challenges Alpha Diallo for the best name on the team.
Friars fans should be very familiar with Pipkins as he has absolutely TORCHED the Friars over the last three seasons in their head-to-head matchups, scoring 20, 30, and 26 points and coming away with two victories for the Minutemen. Fortunately, as he say, “Now I’m A Friar.”
Over the last three seasons as a UMass Minuteman, Luwane averaged 15.7 ppg, 3.7 apg, and 3.5 rpg. Easily his best collegiate season was in 2017-2018 when he averaged 21.2 ppg while shooting 42.6% from three. Last year, Pipkins’ statistics came back down to earth a little bit but he still averaged 16 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 4.9 rpg. If that’s a down year for you as a player, you are sure as hell doing something right. The one part of his game that really took a nose-dive last year was his three-point shooting that went from 42.6% to 28.1%. Granted, he was asked to carry such a big offensive load for the team, that a lot of his shots were contested and had the defensive scheme focusing solely on stopping him. Not to mention that he was hampered by a hamstring injury for the last month or so of the season.
I feel like he will be able to get that percentage back up closer to two seasons ago by playing off the ball some, having many more options that a defense has to worry about, and being fully-healthy.
There are three things that I particularly like about his game.
- The 5.2 assists per game. That apg would have led the Friars team last year by more than 2 assists per game. Not to mention that the two top assists guys for the Friars weren’t point guards but were Alpha Diallo (3.1) and Isaiah Jackson (2.3).
- The 80.5% free throw shooting. That makes it 2 for 2 on skills that Pipkins is bringing to the table that the Friars are in need of. That percentage from the line would make him the best free throw shooter amongst the returning players for next season.
- A double-whammy of grit and fearlessness. Coolley loves tough kids, so he checks that box off. One of the things PC was missing last year was a guy who could create his own shot down the stretch when the Friars needed a bucket. Pipkins is not afraid of being the guy for that exact moment.
Here is a great piece by The Daily Collegian, outlining Pipkins upbringing and inherent toughness that he’s developed from being brought up in Englewood, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in all of Chicago.
My favorite quote I’ve seen on Pipkins is from UMass Coach Matt McCall, “Pip cares. He cares about people, he cares about his former coaches, his current coaches, his family — he really cares. He wears his emotions on his sleeve.”
That just sounds like a guy who is built for Friartown.
Coach Cooley, who is not allowed to comment on Pipkins’ commitment, only tweeted the following.
It’s an exciting time in Friartown!
— Ed Cooley (@CoachCooleyPC) March 24, 2019
I’m going to think of a good nickname but I don’t want to be too hasty. At least I have some time before next season starts.
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