Kalipinde earns All-GSAC honors, sparks team

Given Kalipinide is a vital piece to the playoff-bound men’s basketball team.

Conner Penfold, Writer

Junior guard Given Kalipinde is one of many seemingly thrown-together pieces of the playoff-bound men’s basketball team. Looking to replace nine seniors, head coach Dave Holmquist recruited transfers from the Rocky Mountains, the Midwest, local community colleges and even rival universities to piece together a team-driven squad that has won 10 of its last 11 games.

The 6-foot-2-inch Kalipinde is a huge reason why this team is winning.

Kalipinde is twice named GSAC Player of the Week

His outstanding play as of late earned him the title of Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the second time this year. And his overall consistent play throughout the season not only bolstered his team at the point guard position, but also earned him All-GSAC honors, capping off an impressive junior season in which he is averaging 11.6 points per game and 7.9 rebounds.

“I try my best to do the little things,” Kalipinde said, “to lead by example, whether its rebounding or giving up my shots to people who are wide open.”

Kalipinde hails from Zambia, Africa, where he split his childhood living in Durban, South Africa and the Zambian capital Lusaka. Eventually moving to the United States, he graduated from high school in Alexandria, Va., where he then chose to attend Loyola Marymount University. However, he soon encountered a problem.

“I didn’t really enjoy my freshman year there because I had a few problems where they wouldn’t let me play soccer and basketball,” Kalipinde said. “So I decided I’d try to move on.”

His stay at Loyola did serve a purpose, however, leading him indirectly to Biola.

“I had heard about Biola because one of my assistant coaches’ wives graduated from there,” said Kalipinde, who then spent a year at Salt Lake City Community College before making the decision to come to Biola. “I decided to try and get back to some warm weather.”

Transfer to Biola proves successful

Now he is a vital piece to a well-fitting puzzle — a team that Kalipinde said remains defense- and team-focused thanks to great coaching.

“We have a lot of guys that are good offensively,” Kalipinde said, “but they do a better job at buying into the defense and coach [Dave] Holmquist, coach [B.J.] Foster and coach [Jim] Larson really get that credit for our defensive efforts every single time.”

Kalipinde sparked the team last Saturday as they opened up a 21-point second-half lead on The Master’s College, only to let it dwindle to as close as two points down the stretch. Despite the near collapse, he says the team remains confident.

Conveniently, tomorrow night’s opening round GSAC playoff game matches Biola up against those same Mustangs.

“We’re going to have to prepare a little differently … maybe throw a couple different looks at them,” Kalipinde said.

When asked how the team can maintain its momentum into tomorrow’s rematch, Kalipinde was composed when he answered, completely maintaining and reflecting the team’s goals.

“Just playing together. I think we have a lot of guys that can get 20 or 18 a night easily, but just realizing that it’s a team effort that gets it done,” he said. “Rebounding, making the extra pass and helping out defensively. All of those things translate into what we are trying to do on Thursday.”

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