DUNCANVILLE, Tx. - When you've got a famous last name, it's imperative that you bring your "A" game every night.
That's just what Hamburg's 6-5, 215-pound Quinton Pippen, nephew of former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippin, did for Team Arkansas this past weekend in the Next Level Ballers AAU event.
"Having the name is something I really enjoy and he has really been very encouraging to me," Pippen said. "It makes me work hard because I know I am going to get everybody's best shot because of who my uncle is."
Pippen, who led his team to the Class 4A state title game this season before falling to Huntsville, knew from an early age what a big deal his uncle was.
"It was really something to see - watching him and Michael Jordan on TV and then going up there to see them play," Pippen said. "I loved it and I have a lot of respect for him."
The older Pippen, who didn't play organized basketball until a growth spurt hit while he was at UCA, is making sure the younger one is putting in the time he takes to get better.
"He has told me that the best thing I can do for myself is to work hard at what I do, keep my head up and make my game as complete as I can," Pippen said. "Since he was such a great player and has six championships, I listen very closely to what he has to say."
Pippen had 19 points Friday night while dominating a game both inside and out for head coach Brett Bradley's Team Arkansas.
"He is very versatile and highly skilled," Bradley said. "He can play out on the court, shoot the 3 and get on the block and get it done as well."
Pippen surprises a lot of defenders early in the game because he is left-handed.
"It looks a little unorthodox, but it's an advantage for him," Bradley said. "But basically he is ambidextrous because he can take you with his right hand as well."
Hamburg should be in great shape to win a state title next season, especially since Huntsville loses a ton of seniors.
"Getting there was a great experience and we have everybody coming back next season," Pippen said. "We should be able to make it back there next year and take care of business."
It's early on in the recruiting process for Pippen, but he does have a good impression of Arkansas.
"I like their school and I like watching them play on TV," Pippen said. "I think it is a good basketball organization and I would love to play for them."
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