KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tri-Village graduate Kyle Pipenger took his 3-point shooting skills all the way to Kansas City, Missouri, to compete in the 2017 NABC-NAIA Shoot & Slam contest on Saturday.
Pipenger, a senior guard for the Indiana University East men’s basketball team, was one of four National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics players across the nation chosen to participate in the event and the only Division II player invited to participate. Four of the nation’s top slam-dunkers also were in attendance for the dunking contest.
All NAIA Division I and Division II senior men’s basketball players were eligible for nomination and ultimately selected by the NABC-NAIA Men’s Basketball All-Star Committee. The committee is made up of head coaches from both divisions.
Pipenger was selected after topping the NAIA Division II leaderboard with 70 3-point field goals made and a 51.1, 3-point percentage. After IU East’s trip to the NAIA quarterfinals in Branson, Missouri, those numbers jumped to 82 made and a 51.6 percentage.
“It’s an honor to come and be able to participate and represent IU East here in Kansas City,” Pipenger said. “Not many kids get to experience something like this, to be able to travel and visit different cities in the U.S. is something special overall.”
The goal of the contest, which coincided with the NAIA Men’s Division I championships at Municipal Arena, was to make as many 3-point shots as possible in 60 seconds. Each contestant was given five racks with five basketballs on each rack. The first four balls were worth one point while the final ball was worth two points. The highest two scores in the first round advanced to the finals.
Pipenger scored 12 points, which was two points shy from giving him a shot to compete in the finals.
“I have really enjoyed my time in Kansas City and hope to come back again someday,” Pipenger said. “I just want to thank everyone who worked hard to put this event together and made this experience so great. Congratulations to the 3-point and dunk champions; they put on quite a show.”
Pipenger, a New Madison native, spent his first two seasons of collegiate basketball at Huntington University before joining the Red Wolves’ team. He was a member of the 2016 IU East roster that advanced to the final four of the NAIA Division II tournament.
“We are so proud, not only of what Pip (Pipenger) accomplished this year, but that we have someone with his character representing our school and family,” IU East head coach Mark Hester said. “This was a tremendous honor to be the only NAIA D2 player chosen to compete here in Kansas City. I’m sure it was a great experience for Pip and great exposure for our program. After all, participating in college sports is about the experiences you have, the lessons you learned, and the memories that will last a lifetime. Pip maximized his time here at IU East and we have been lucky to have him.”
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