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“It’s a big bonus,” Jones said. “He’s probably the best recruit we got. It’s certainly not one you’re expecting and it’s somebody who can have an impact right away.”

It also ensures a new look. American was a perimeter-centric team a year ago and made 39.4 percent of its 3-pointers, ranking 15th in the country.

With Lumpkins‘ return and the development of junior Tony Wroblicky in the second half of last season, American’s greatest strength is in the paint.

“You look at our size now, with him and Tony down there when we play that lineup, that’s what the elite teams have,” senior guard Daniel Munoz said. “That’s the size they have at the four and the five. In our league, that’s sort of a benefit to be able to pound the ball in. In our league, [teams] might have one guy like that, but most teams don’t have two.”

The benefit is mutual. While Lumpkins was done with baseball, he knew he wasn’t finished as a competitive athlete.

And as it turns out, his second time around as a basketball player is proving even more fulfilling.

“Before, you kind of go through workouts and it’s like, ‘OK, what time are we done at today?’” Lumpkins said. “You don’t want to say that, but it’s kind of how it is: ‘We’ve got practice from 4 to 6, when are we done?’ I did the baseball, and I miss that. It’s like we’re playing pick-up, and I’m going to play until they tell us to stop. I just enjoy it a lot more. I don’t look at it as something I have to do. It’s something I get to do.”