Quinton Pippen

Quinton Pippen, nephew of Bulls great Scottie Pippen, is one of Chicago State's best players. (Courtesy of Chicago State University / March 10, 2014)

When he retired from basketball, Scottie Pippen left a legacy as one of the greatest all-around players the NBA had ever seen.

Now there's another Pippen in Chicago trying to make his mark on and off the court.

Quinton Pippen plays for Chicago State and wears No. 33 just like his famous uncle. The senior leads the Cougars in scoring (15.4 points per game), assists (2.6) and steals (55) and was named second-team All-Western Athletic Conference this season. The Cougars will pursue an NCAA tournament bid beginning Thursday in the WAC tournament.

He's cut from good basketball cloth, but Quinton has no interest in riding anyone's coattails.

"Growing up, because my last name is Pippen, everybody came at me harder on the court and off the court," he said. "People look at me different because of my uncle, but like I tell everybody, I'm not him. I'm Quinton Pippen. I try to play my game but people always try to compare my game to his, But I try to tell them that we're two different people—he's 6-7, I'm 6-4—we have two different games."

If there are any similarities between the two on the court, it's on defense.

"He's a guy that can guard a bunch of positions," Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy said. "Maybe that's a Pippen trait from the family, and it's one of those things that both take pride in. Quinton is versatile and we can put him on many different people. He can guard anybody from point guards to power forwards."

Like uncle, like nephew. Or something like that.

"I do try to pattern my game after my uncle's on the defensive end," Quinton said. "I try to do some of the same things he used to do on the court."

Aside from basketball, being related to a Hall of Famer has its perks.

"People get real excited when they talk about my uncle. I don't," Quinton said. "But when I saw Michael Jordan, it really struck me. Like, that's one of the best players ever. And when I met him, he was a cool guy. To this day I still see him and every time, he's real cool, down to earth. He tells me about my game and what I need to work on."

And if M.J. tells Quinton what to work on, Scottie has no problem showing him.

"I played him a couple years ago and to this day, he can still get me. He throws elbows and everything," Quinton said jokingly. "During the summers or whenever I have a break, he always helps me with my game. He'll work me out on the court or I'll go to his house and work out. He just shows me different things to help me be a better player and to be a pro."

Quinton, a native of Hamburg, Ark. (population: 2,866), aspires to play professional basketball after he graduates this spring, but his coach is more proud of him as a person than a player.

"More than what he does for us on the court, I'm more proud of him for what he'll do in May, and that's leaving here with a college degree," Dildy said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 20 percent of Hamburg's residents have a college degree. "From where he came from, nobody would've ever imagined that Quinton Pippen would be a college graduate. Now we have another Pippen that's made his name in Chicago sports and at Chicago State University. I couldn't be more proud of that."

Bryan Crawford is a RedEye special contributor.

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