Leading up the season we are doing a countdown of the Top 100 players in college basketball. These rankings are based on a poll made up of 14 CPP writers. These writers span from UCLA to Seton Hall so there is very little bias. Each day we will release the latest player on our ranking with a small write-up. Be sure to check out the rest of the Top 100 articles!
2016-2017 Stats: 6.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg
Why They Are Here
The Greensboro, NC, native took a big step forward in 2017 defensively and played a strong supporting role throughout conference play for the eventual national champions. Pinson missed the first half of the season due to a foot injury, but came back as, arguably, the missing piece the Tar Heels needed. At 6’6, his defensive versatility in guarding multiple positions was key as UNC head coach Roy Williams could have Pinson guard the opposing team’s best perimeter player and hide his weaker defenders on more one-dimensional players. These things matter, as Pinson held Gonzaga star Nigel Williams-Goss to less than 33 percent from the field in the National Championship.
Role on This Year’s Team
Similar to last year, Pinson will be the go-to defensive stopper for the Heels, but due to his seniority, will also step up to be a veteran leader on and off the court. Pinson and guard Joel Berry are the only two seniors that see significant playing time, and after playing 23 minutes per game last season, Pinson will see a large boost in time on the court. In order to become a complete player for UNC, he’ll have to work on his offensive game. Pinson averaged 6.1 points per contest last year on 38.1 percent from the field (23.7 percent from behind the line). The points will likely increase due to volume, but how much they increase depends on how efficient his shot can become. Pinson has good passing instincts and uses his quickness well on the glass, but the role he’ll play for Williams this year will likely require a better season-long shooting performance.
College Season/NBA Prospects
Pinson is a fringe NBA player strictly because of his defense and athleticism. His 6’11 wingspan is a boost in his appeal to NBA GMs, but that may only get him an invite to training camp at best. Pinson really has to develop into a complete player during his final season in order to solidify himself on draft boards, even if it’s only in the second round. Boosting this stock will come with a more well-rounded offensive output this season. Pinson is an exciting athlete which immediately gives him potential right off the bat, but in this day and age, he has to be more efficient with the ball in his hands.
Be sure to check out tomorrow’s Top 100 player.
Image via USA Today Sports