One of the potential impact freshman in the Atlantic 10 is still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA.
Luwane Pipkins, who committed to UMass as a Rivals150 prospect back in May 2014, is still waiting to hear from NCAA Eligibility Center as the Minutemen enter the first week of practice, according to Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
“He hasn’t been deemed anything yet by the NCAA,” UMass head coach Derek Kellogg told reporters on Monday. “He’s in limbo to a certain extent. He’s been running the hills of Amherst on his own and doing some things to stay in shape while we wait on his outcome.”
The 5-foot-10 point guard did not make the Minutemen’s trip to Europe this summer; needing to finish high school coursework before heading to Amherst for the fall semester.
Pipkins, rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, could be a big part of the future for UMass basketball. Trey Davis and Jabari Hines are set to graduate this year, leaving the ball duties in the hands of the Chicago native. Kellogg has hit the recruiting trail hard in recent months, securing commitments from guards DeJon Jarreau and Unique McLean, as well as forwards Chris Baldwin and Brison Gresham, adding to a group of returners for the 2016-17 season that should include Pipkins and shooting guard Donte Clark.
UMass opens the 2015-16 season against Howard on Nov. 14 at home.
UMass reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years this past March. The Minutemen coaching staff is riding that momentum, cashing in Bogan (Ill.) 2015 point guard Luwane Pipkins, a three-star recruit, who committed to UMass on Tuesday night.
Matt Vautour of the Daily Hampshire Gazette first reported the news, confirmed by CBT‘s Scott Phillips.
The 5-foot-10 floor general is ranked as the No. 122 overall by Rivals, and is the first commit in UMass’ Class of 2015. He held offers from Bradley, DePaul, La Salle, Northern Illinois and Valparaiso.
Pipkins is a good fit for UMass on both sides of the ball. He is a tenacious on-the-ball defender and is an improved 3-point shooter. Playing with the loaded Mac Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit, Pipkins is connecting on 38 percent of his shots from beyond the arc through three games.
He was Mac Irvin Fire’s leading scorer at 19.7 points, along with 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, during Nike EYBL Session 1 in Sacramento.
While it’s natural to compare him to Chaz Williams, given that they are both under 6-feet, Pipkins will need to become more of a distributor to fit the mold. When he arrives in Amherst in the fall of 2015 he’ll join an experienced back court headlined by Derrick Gordon, Trey Davis and Jabarie Hinds, who is eligible this upcoming season following his transfer from West Virginia.