Pinson chooses UNC

May. 22, 2013 @ 06:56 PM

Wesleyan Christian Academy's Theo Pinson has been one of the most heavily recruited athletes the area's ever seen. Many of the top coaches in the country became regular sights at the school.

In an announcement ceremony in the school gym, Pinson, a junior and one of the country's top recruits, revealed Wednesday which one he has chosen to play for in the coming years: North Carolina and coach Roy Williams.

“Me and Roy had a conversation last week that just pushed me over the top,” Pinson said, sporting the blue North Carolina hat he used to unveil his decision moments earlier. “And it was like: This is where I want to be.”

Pinson, who was joined by his parents, Theo and Barbara of Greensboro, had narrowed his choices to also include Duke, Indiana, Georgetown and Louisville. He said it ultimately came down to the Tar Heels and the Hoosiers.

The thought of playing just down the road in Chapel Hill was too much to resist.

“Me and Roy, we have a very good relationship,” said Pinson, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound small forward. “I have a very good relationship with (Indiana) Coach (Tom) Crean also. But it was: Why not play in front of your peers for four more years?”

In two years at Wesleyan, Pinson, who is ranked No. 13 in the 2014 ESPN 60, has made an impact. He averaged 13 points, four rebounds and three assists this year and was selected all-state, as the the Trojans won the NCISAA 3A state championship.
He also played for the 2012 USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team.

“It's a great day for Theo and his family and a great day for our program,” said Wesleyan coach Keith Gatlin, who played at Maryland in the 1980s. “I feel like a weight is off his shoulders. I'm really happy for him in that respect.

“Theo is very skilled. He's long, he can play multiple positions. And Carolina likes to get up and down, and we like to get up and down here. That's attractive to Theo, and he's a student of the game. He really knew what they wanted and what he can bring.”

Pinson, who played his freshman season at Oak Ridge, said he talked with Williams on Wednesday, then made his final decision Thursday. He told Williams on Tuesday, then talked with Crean just before his announcement.

“It was tough,” he said of talking to Crean. “He put a whole lot of work into recruiting. But it's a business. You have to do what you have to do. But I respect the heck out of Indiana.

“Right now, I feel like I have a lot of weight off my shoulders, now that I've made my decision. I'm happy about it. I'll still play in front of a lot of people I love and who've been with me throughout my whole career. It's a blessing.”

He joins fellow five-star recruits Joel Berry from Florida (ranked No. 12 by ESPN) and Justin Jackson from Texas (No. 14), who have also committed to North Carolina for 2014.