NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – When USA Basketball unveiled the final 12-man roster for the U17 World Championship games, Theo Pinson's name was nowhere to be found.
Pinson, a 6-5 shooting guard who's ranked No. 14 in the class of 2014, was passed over for players without the same international experience -- Pinson played for the FIBA Americas U16 team last year -- and hype. Instead of sulking about missing out, Pinson used to it prepare for a big summer.
“That was huge motivation,” he said. “So I went to the gym and I wanted to make a statement.”
|Theo Pinson has been one of the most consistently impressive players on the Nike circuit this month. (Nike)|
Pinson has done more than that so far in July. He was one of the top performers at the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Global Challenge earlier this month, and also made several impressions at the Nike Peach Jam last week.
He averaged 16.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in seven games, leading his CP3 All-Stars AAU team to a semifinal appearance before getting knocked out.
“It's been fun,” Pinson said. “Right now, I'm just enjoying the game, and having fun with my teammates. The best part is competing at a high level.”
Because of his recent stellar play, Pinson picked up an offer from North Carolina right before the Peach Jam. Despite growing up a Duke fan, the Tar Heels have long been a factor in the Wesleyan Christian Academy (N.C.) product's recruitment.
His mother played basketball at UNC-Charlotte and his father attended North Carolina A&T, so there are plenty of Pinson roots in the Tar Heel State.
“It was humbling,” Pinson said. “Just to hear from [Roy Williams] himself.”
Louisville was another school that offered Pinson before the Peach Jam last week.
“They have been on me for awhile, but they just offered me last week,” he said. “The coaches are cool guys.”
North Carolina and Louisville are just two of the many offers for Pinson. Duke, Indiana, Ohio State, Florida State and others are also in the mix for Pinson.
He took a trip to Bloomington in early June, and liked what he saw from the Hoosiers.
“It's different from North Carolina,” Pinson said. “I don't mind it though. The coaches were real nice. The fan support there is crazy. I want to go for a game.”
Fellow Big Ten power Ohio State has put in steady work with Pinson, and the highly-touted prospect is intrigued by the number of players the Buckeyes send to the pro ranks.
“The coaches are real cool, and so many players went to the NBA,” Pinson said. “That's what they do best.”
Pinson is not near a decision. When he is ready to pop, though, expect a well-informed commitment.
“I'm a basketball junkie, so I know everything.”