Kylique Lipscombe’s road to college basketball had quite a few bumps. At one point he was left with no place to go and stayed in a homeless shelter for five months. Nevertheless, this Jamaica, Queens Native used perseverance throughout his journey and is now signed to play college basketball this winter.
Kylique Lipscombe: Perseverance
Kylique Lipscombe made the varsity basketball team at Flushing High School as sophomore.
“I told myself, ‘I could make something happen with basketball,'” Lipscombe said. “Basketball means a lot to me, I learned to cherish every moment of it throughout the good times and bad. I used to play basketball so much My mom would tell me that I need to take a break from it, I just couldn’t because it was something I wanted to do and be good at it.”
Lipscombe grew up in Jamaica, Queens, New York; a town on the south side of Queens known for violence and outrage with cops. Although, he wanted to leave.
“I wanted to be different, I wanted to stand out more,” Lipscombe said. “I wanted to make a name for myself.”
Lipscombe reached out to his cousin, a name Hawkeye fans should know – Trey Dickerson; and asked if he could help him find a place to play. Dickerson connected him to a coach at Pure Prep, and Lipscombe made his way to America’s Heartland.
While playing for Pure Prep, Lipscombe was averaging 14.0 points per game and 4.6 rebounds.
“Playing for Coach Greer and Tony Bell was the best decision I ever made,” Lipscombe said. “I learned so much from them throughout the season. I have gotten so much better ever since I started playing for them.
After the season ended, Lipscombe did not have any college looks and decided to go back to New York.
“It was still winter time when I came back home and everyone missed me ,” Lipscombe said. “I was glad to be home for a few days but nothing changed to me, everything was still the same.”
“One day I came downstairs and asked my mom why it was freezing in the house , she was wrapped up in three blankets and told me there was no heat,” Lipscombe said. “Inside I wanted to just break down and cry, but I told myself ‘I’ve got to go back to Iowa.’ I decided to go back out there on my own without a place to stay.”
Lipscombe then spent a few months in a homeless shelter sacrificing everything just to get into school where he could play basketball.
“Living in the shelter had its ups and downs,” Lipscombe said. “We had a curfew that we had to be in by 7:00pm, and had to wake up at 5:00am each morning for our non-paid work schedule.”
“But, it shocked me to see how people could have nothing and still enjoy life,” Lipscombe said.
He spent his spare time at the YMCA, where he met local players, Malachi Canada, Lo Choul, Khalid Edwards, Jervon Looney and Jordan Johnson. He became good friends with each of them over the course the year, but none of them knew he was homeless.
“I didn’t want that to effect what I was trying to accomplish, he kept faith and stayed strong,” Lipscombe said.
Choul ended up hearing about Lipscombe being homeless and then told his mentor, Bill Pieper. He agreed to give Lipscombe a place to stay for the time being. Lipscombe has stayed with Pieper ever since.
“I love Iowa, I like the atmosphere, it’s peaceful,” Lipscombe said. “Everybody is so helpful out here, and it was the best decision I ever made coming here.”
The YMCA Capital City League
Over the summer, Lipscombe got drafted in the YMCA Capital City League (YCCL), a summer basketball league that features Iowa State and Drake stars along with talented, surrounding players.
He played well through the season, and stepped up the most on a night when his team was without their Iowa State players and were competing with six players total.
On top of scoring 18 points, Lipscombe stepped up to guide the team, acting as their captain, and encouraging teammates at every opportunity he could. It was very evident that he had what it takes.
About a week later, he was getting recognition by a college coach from Little Priest Tribal College, a school right on the Iowa-Nebraska border.
On July 14th Lipscombe took a visit to the school. He was offered a scholarship, which he signed on the spot.
“I kept Faith and I kept grinding, that’s perseverance,” Lipscombe said.