Molinari captures Meadows’ Lipnisky

First-year NIU men’s basketball coach Jim Molinari believes he got a two-for-one deal last Thursday with the signing of his first Huskie recruit in Rolling Meadows High School standout Mike Lipnisky.

“We have two scholarships to work with, so our goal was to get a good outside shooter and also get a player with a very strong work ethic. I’m convinced we’ve already filled both by signing Mike Lipnisky,” Molinari explained.

The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard helped Rolling Meadows win the Mid-Suburban League title over Palatine Fremd en route to a 24-4 season that included the Elk Grove Regional crown. Lipnisky earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All-State notice while leading the Mustangs in scoring with a 15.6 ppg. average that was accompanied by 3.9 rbpg. and 4.0 assists per contest, according to RMHS coach Dave Brown.

Lipnisky received Second-Team All-Area honors from the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, which listed him as that area’s 11th-best scorer and eighth-best marksman from three-point range with 39 field goals. The two-time co-captain was a First-Team All-Mid-Suburban League choice in 1988-89 when RMHS ruled the MSL South with a 10-0 record. He was also named to the All-Elgin Christmas Tournament squad after the Mustangs lost a 69-65 championship battle to Chicago King. Lipnisky’s team-best 19 neutralized King’s Jamie Brandon, who scored 12 of his 31 points after Lipnisky fouled out.

“I think Mike’s biggest strength is his work ethic. He is one of the most dedicated young men I’ve seen when it comes to basketball. He has a great desire to become a very good player,” Molinari noted. “He brings us immediate strength in the area of outside shooting.

“Mike’s a combination guard, so we’ll be able to play him at either point or off-guard. I think the key for Mike will be physical maturity. He has the work ethic and the skills to be very good, so he just needs to get stronger. He’s definitely the type of young man we want in our program and the Chicagoland area is very important for us, so I’m very happy to have one of the top players from the suburbs,” Molinari added.

Lipnisky lettered for Rolling Meadows varsity as a sophomore starter despite being sidelined initially by an ankle injury and later a back injury. As a freshman, he was a starter on a successful Mustang sophomore squad.

“Mike’s a complete player. He can drive to the basket, pull-up from 20, and he can use either hand. He really can do everything offensively. Defensively, he can hold his own with anyone, but he needs to be a little more intense,” RMHS coach Brown added.

Lipnisky is the second cousin to NIU women’s basketball letter-winning reserve guard Denise Lipnisky.