Who’s Got Next? Theo Pinson Ends HS Career on a High NotePosted by Sean Moran on February 24th, 2014
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theo Pinson is Ready For Chapel Hill
Some players make the McDonald’s All-American game based on their summer AAU play. Other players, like four-star (and soon to be five-star) Theo Pinson earn their invitation through fabulous senior seasons. Pinson, a 6’6” small forward headed to North Carolina next year, is currently ranked No. 10 in the country by ESPN. His high ranking is largely due to an extremely impressive senior year at Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC), a school which just won its second straight state championship over their weekend.
Over the summer, Pinson led his CP3 All-Stars team to the championship game of the famed Nike Peach Jam. Despite the loss, Pinson was solid in averaging 15.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game over the course of the event. With his slashing and athletic style of play, Pinson lived at the free throw line at times, with games where he went 16-of-18 and 17-of-18 from the line. The one weakness in Pinson’s game has been his outside shooting. Known for his “chicken-wing” form, Pinson shot a chilly 31 percent from behind the arc. Knowing his faults allowed him to focus on improving his outside shot with high school coach and former Maryland player, Keith Gatlin, who talked with InsideCarolina about his star. “I think now his shooting is his most underrated skill,” Gatlin said. “He’s been knocking them down while playing heavy minutes. He’s doing it all right now… he’s getting to the cup, finishing and making his free throws. You can’t really play him one way. A lot of teams say ‘let’s make him shoot.’ You can’t do that with him. “
While playing a schedule that took Pinson’s high school team to California, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Missouri, the senior showed off his improved outside stroke and shot close to 40 percent from behind the arc this season. A newfound confidence coupled with strong ball-handling and grade A athleticism led him to be named 1st team All-State. Starting the year, Pinson was supposed to have Harry Giles, the No. 1 sophomore in the country, along his side, but that combination was cut short when Giles tore his ACL over the summer. “We’re obviously without Harry [Giles] and we accepted that over the summer,” said Gatlin. “But then we lost Jaquel [Richmond, a Houston signee] for two months. The kids rallied around Theo and held the fort down until we started getting healthy. Theo is the leader of the team and rightfully so.”
Next year Pinson will head to Chapel Hill and don the in-state colors of Carolina blue and white as part of the No. 4 ranked recruiting class in the county. He just attended UNC’s upset victory over Duke on Thursday night and will look to elevate the Heels back to title contention next year. Teaming with Pinson will be 6’8” five-star small forward Justin Jackson and 6’0” four-star point guard Joel Berry. While the Tar Heels are on a nine-game winning streak currently, they have very limited depth when it comes to the wing. Ever improving sophomore J.P. Tokoto will return next season and current sophomore Marcus Paige will slide over to the shooting guard position at times but there will still be plenty of playing time available for Pinson and Jackson. UNC currently sits at No. 342 in the country when it comes to three-pointers per game, and with Pinson’s ever-improving outside shot, he could be a key asset for the Tar Heels next year. A second straight state championship coupled with a rapidly improving perimeter game makes Pinson one of the hottest players in the senior class and a freshman to watch out for next season.