Welcome to Keeping It Heel’s incoming freshman preview series! Before the McDonalds All-American game and the next season of Carolina basketball, we will preview all three of the Tar Heels recruits for next season. Today, we continue with Theo Pinson.
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
High School: Wesleyan Christian Academy
ESPN Rating: 96 (Five Stars)
National Rank: 10th in ESPN 100
Position: Small Forward
Pinson is a talented scoring wing who played and acted like a superstar in high school. I love his athleticism and his playmaking ability, both of which are evident in the video above. Pinson is a strong shooter as well, and should be able to step in and hold his own on offense and defense next season. Overall, he is one of the most talented wing recruits UNC has had since Harrison Barnes.
Theo Pinson will have to adjust to playing within a system at Carolina, and I expect a large learning curve for playing within an offense like UNC fans saw with Isiah Hicks this season. Both Hicks and Pinson dominated at their respective high schools, but Hicks really never put everything together in his freshman season. Pinson’s shooting gives him a skill that will immediately translate to college ball, but I do expect a learning curve for Pinson in the first half of the season.
Projections for UNC
Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson, Pinson’s fellow recruit entering UNC next season, will both work next season to replace the production lost by Leslie McDonald’s departure. McDonald averaged 10 points and shot 31% from three in his senior season, and I expect the combo of Pinson and Jackson to be able to replace that production and do much more in their freshman seasons. Pinson will fight for that third starting guard spot with J.P. Tokoto and Justin Jackson, but I expect him to provide a valuable spark off the bench in ACC play. Like Jackson, his ceiling is being an All-ACC type star on a really good North Carolina team in two or three years.
I might be shooting too high on this one, but how about Harrison Barnes? Barnes had much more hype coming into his freshman season at UNC as the number one recruit in the country. But Barnes and Pinsons’ games are pretty similar, and they both have a swagger about them that gives them an extra competitive edge. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pinson ends up having just as much success as Barnes did at UNC when its all said and done.
Coach Roy got a really good trio of wing players for this 2014 recruiting class, and Pinson has the chance to be the best in two or three years. He can score and create so easily off the dribble, and his shooting will really help UNC next season. He is another great talent that fans will love watching next season.