Four Questions with Tamin Lipsey

Iowa State's point guard grew up in Ames. What's it like playing in front of a home crowd?

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His season’s been a whirlwind

It’s typical for sophomores to see significant improvements from their freshman season. But Iowa State point guard Tamin Lipsey? To say he’s improved would be an understatement. First, the counting stats:

His advanced metrics profile is just as impressive:

He’s had dominant defensive games (8 steals!), hit double-figure scoring in 14 games, and run the Cyclones’ offense with incredible efficiency. Per, he’s been the 7th best player in the sport this season. Even better, he’s an Ames, Iowa, native, which means playing for Iowa State just means more. The only thing that’s slowed him down? A shoulder injury that caused him to miss Saturday’s win over TCU. (They’ll decide today if he’ll play on Wednesday vs. K-State).

He spoke about his jump, Hilton Magic and much more in the latest Four Questions:

Q: Last season, you were kind of thrust into the starting role because of an injury. And now, you've had a spectacular year. Your numbers are up across the board, whether it's offensively, defensively, minutes and more. What’s been the difference for you when you contrast the two seasons? Did the coaches have specifics they wanted you to work on?

Tamin Lipsey: It’s probably just feeling more comfortable. Obviously, last year not knowing how much I was gonna play — or even if I was gonna play — was hard. My role was basically to facilitate and guard the ball on defense. This year, it’s a little more of everything. The coaches have put a lot of time and effort and trust in me, and that goes both ways in our relationship.

They wanted me to work on leadership. They knew I was gonna be a big key in in the team, so being more vocal, being a better leader for our team and being that guy that teammates look up to. And then along with that, it was just expanding my offensive game; getting a lot of shots up, working on my shot was a big thing. It was about just being comfortable to take shots and knock them down.

Q: How would you describe the team’s (and your) approach to defense? I would say it’s akin to crazed dogs in the way your team swarms ball-handlers, traps and applies ball pressure.

Lipsey: Yeah, I like that. We’re just all on a string and we're all basically going 100 MPH, but at the same time we’re in the right spot at the right time, which is super important. We’re trying to put the offense on their heels — that's the main thing — so we can make them uncomfortable, force them into mistakes and we can take advantage.

Q: You’re a local kid who’s seen a lot of great guards play at Iowa State. I think of guys like Fred Hoiberg and Jamal Tinsley, but you’re probably thinking of guys like Monte Morris and Tyrese Haliburton. Combine that legacy with the ability to play for that Hilton Magic, and is it more meaningful to you?

Lipsey: It's an amazing experience. I'm blessed to be able to play in Hilton every day. The Iowa State fan base and the intensity that they bring to every game gives us such an advantage.

Hilton Magic. Sometimes people might only see it when we beat a high-ranked team or something like that, but at the same time it’s always got that magic. The fans have our back and they give us a huge advantage and it's awesome. I've been there as a fan for many games and now being a player, it’s a total experience. If you’ve never been here, you need to experience it.

Q: Do you guys ever think about chipping in and getting Coach Otz some shirts that aren't quite so tight?

Lipsey: I kinda like the look. I think it matches our team and our energy that we bring. I don't know what size shirt he wears or what look he’s trying to pull off, but I think he looks great. I think we all like it,

Iowa State hosts Kansas State on Wednesday. Watch it at 9 pm ET on ESPN.