Q&A: Tamin Lipsey on T.J. Otzelberger, his junior season and more

Ames junior guard Tamin Lipsey runs up a layup in the opening seconds of the first quarter against Des Moines East at East High in Des Moines on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Ames High star point guard Tamin Lipsey became the first official scholarship offer of T.J. Otzelberger’s tenure at Iowa State on Saturday when the three-star prospect and the Cyclones’ new head coach were able to connect on a Zoom call.

On Sunday, Cyclone Fanatic caught up with Lipsey to hear more about Otzelberger’s initial recruiting pitch, his reaction to the program and Steve Prohm parting ways and how his junior season with the Little Cyclones went.

Note: Questions and answers were lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

CF: How did your first call with T.J. Otzelberger go on Saturday?

Lipsey: “It was good. It’s my first time having a coaching change in my recruitment. And I guess I would say I was a little nervous or anxious to get to talk to him. It was a great call, my parents were in on it. I love his energy. Seems like he wants to get to work right away. And we just sort of just talked just to get to know each other a little bit better. And of course, we’re gonna have a lot of time to keep doing that. And he said he was watching film on me and he was gonna keep learning more about my game. And stuff like that.”

CF: What was your reaction to Iowa State and Steve Prohm parting ways?

Lipsey: “I guess I would say I wasn’t surprised because of the talk that I was hearing, that I guess everyone was hearing, just about the season and stuff. I think coach Prohm is a great coach. He’s a great guy. It was just what had to be done for the program. But I know, hopefully, I’ll still be in touch with him. Because I got to know him very well. He knows me very well now too. But when it happened, I guess I was just sort of in question of what comes next. So after that, I started just to let what happens happen. And then a couple of days later at hired Coach TJ and then everything went on from there.”

CF: What has been Coach Otzelberger’s initial recruiting pitch been so far?

Lipsey: “So far, he wants to win. He knows that I want to win. And obviously, me being from Ames and being around Iowa State my whole life, he knows that could have a big impact on me and my decision and everything. He was just sort of pushing that no one’s gonna work harder than him and the team. He really believes in outworking your opponents and outworking everyone else. I agree with that a lot. He was just sort of pushing that he wants me to be his point guard or play for him. He just wants to wants to build a relationship.”

CF: What other schools have you been hearing from recently?

Lipsey: “Recently, probably, I’d say Nebraska still. Illinois once in a while, Virginia Tech. Stanford too and that’s about it for now here recently, just with the season just coming end, recruiting will probably start to pick up a little bit.”

CF: How did you feel about your junior season? I know you guys made it to the state semi-finals (where Ames fell to eventual state champion Waukee).

Lipsey: “Yeah, it was it was a fun year. Just having an opportunity to play with COVID, was just a blessing in it all. It was great to be back on the floor with those guys since I missed the year before with my ACL. I was just taking every game one at a time and just not regretting any moments left out there with my brothers. And obviously, our last game didn’t go as we wanted, but Waukee was a great team. They got a lot of great D1 players on their team, and they earned that, but overall it was a fun season. I was happy with how I performed for the most part and it was just fun.”

CF: What are your goals for the offseason leading up to your senior year?

Lipsey: “I would say my goals are to just improve on every part of my game, especially my scoring aspect. I hear a lot around of just how great of a facilitator or a point guard I am and not a lot about how I can score. So I’m going to work on that a lot this offseason, this AAU season. Just working on being able to score on all three levels and show coaches and college coaches that I can do that.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.