Conner Lipinski was born in Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital. He grew up in nearby Gambrills and attends Annapolis Area Christian School. And for as long as the 5-foot-10, 160-pound point guard can remember, he’s been a diehard fan of his hometown college hoops team.
Lipinski “never really thought” he’d have a shot at playing for Maryland, but the AACS star found himself at Comcast Center on Monday with that seemingly unlikely possibility on the table.
“I went down for a practice … [and] they told me I had a spot, so I made the decision right there,” Lipinski said. “I just told [Maryland coach Mark Turgeon] that I wanted to be a part of the team and I was ready.”
Turgeon’s preferred walk-on offer to Lipinski gives the Terps a commitment from one of the MIAA B Conference’s top players, and a point guard that has experience battling top competition on the AAU circuit.
Lipinski had some low-major Division I interest thanks to his play over the summer with Maryland 3D – a Severna Park-based program coached by his father, Marty. But none of that DI interest led to a scholarship. Several Division II schools offered, and Lipinski considered accepting a scholarship from Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C. But early in his senior season, Maryland suddenly emerged.
“My brother [Evan Lipinski], he’s a manager for the team, so I met [some Terps coaches and players] early in the year,” said Lipinski, whose brother played at McDonogh and is a sophomore at College Park. “They came out to one of my games earlier in the year, and then they started recruiting me a little bit.”
Lipinski made a good impression on the Terps coaches during a senior season in which he averaged around 17 points and five assists for the Eagles, who fell to eventual B Conference-champion Gilman in the semifinals. Lipinski said Dustin Clark, Maryland’s director of basketball operations, and assistant coaches Scott Spinelli and Bino Ranson all put in “a good word” for him with Turgeon.
“They say that they need a point guard to run the scout team next year,” Lipinski said. “I guess that’ll be my job next year. Turgeon said I have an opportunity to get some playing time, so we’ll see what happens.”
One day after his commitment, Lipinski sat down to watch Maryland’s game against Miami. Watching guys like Sean Mosley and Nick Faust – players he encountered in Baltimore's AAU scene – is something he’s grown accustomed to. And he’s certainly used to rooting for the Terps. But as Lipinski watched the Terps take down the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, something had clearly changed for the future Terp.
“Maryland [has] been my dream ever since I was a little kid,” Lipinski said. “[So] it was actually different watching the game than it has been for the last 18 years of my life. It’s just weird thinking I’ll be out there next year with the guys. … Just being out there during the games at Comcast Center, that’ll be awesome. I’m really excited.”