Former Grizzly Lipski transfers to Humboldt State

Less than a year after switching sports, Matt Lipski is making another major change, one he hopes will stick for a while.

Lipski, a former Ashland High football and basketball standout, has transferred from College of the Redwoods to Humboldt State, where he will play men's basketball for the NCAA Division II Lumberjacks.

The 6-foot-9, 270-pound sophomore center who was recruited out of high school to play Division I football at the University of Montana said he signed a letter of intent April 20 and is looking forward to completing his college eligibility at the Arcata, Calif. school.

"(Humboldt State) noticed me during the year," said Lipski, who as a freshman at College of the Redwoods ranked first in blocked shots (2.2 per game), third in rebounds (7.7) and fourth in field goal percentage (.554) in the Golden Valley Conference. "Part of my plan was to go down there and try to get their attention a little bit. They liked the way I played and they thought it could work out as a good fit. The process was pretty slow, but everything kind of fell into place nicely."

Lipski joins a successful program, but one that will endure its first coaching change at the top in three decades. The Lumberjacks, who compete in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, have a .738 winning percentage over the past 10 seasons, a span that includes nine playoff berths. They'll try to make it 10 playoff berths in 11 years next season, when Steve Kinder takes the reigns from longtime HSU head coach Tom Wood, who retired after 29 years at the helm.

Lipski said he got to know Kinder when he was still an assistant coach and is looking forward to playing for him.

"So, that was just another thing they had going for them," said Lipski, who graduated from Ashland High in 2008.

Lipski also is excited to play in Humboldt State's new gym — "a beautiful facility" — and plans to focus his studies on natural resources, which happens to be a specialty at Humboldt State, he said.

Lipski's current path would have seemed far fetched just 20 months ago, when as a freshman at Montana he helped the Grizzlies' football team advance all the way to the NCAA Division I-FCS championship game. It was a thrilling ride, but Lipski realized afterward that his love for basketball remained and following his freshman year he transferred to College of the Redwoods, a two-year junior college in Eureka, Calif.

The move, he said, has worked out perfectly.

"I definitely have to say that I don't regret the move at all," he said. "There's not a day that goes by that I'm not excited to head into the gym. I can't wait to improve and work on my game, see where I can get with my potential. Every day I love going to practice and can't wait for the next one."

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