Hoosiers waiting to learn if investment in Pinson’s recruitment will pay off

Indiana has so far invested more time and energy into recruiting Theo Pinson than any other player in the Class of 2014. Wednesday afternoon, the Hoosiers will find out whether or not it was worth it.

Pinson, a 6-foot-5, 170-pound wing from Wesleyan Christian Academy in Greensboro, N.C. and a consensus Top 20 recruit in the class will announce his college choice at his school at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday. Pinson is considering Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisville and North Carolina.

All five are blueblood programs and Duke and North Carolina have the benefit of being in Pinson’s home state, but none of them have made put as much into Pinson’s recruitment as the Hoosiers have. Pinson has taken one official visit and it was to Indiana in February for the IU-Michigan game. North Carolina, which Pinson has seen on numerous unofficial visits, is considered IU’s top competition in his recruitment.

“I think Theo has been Indiana’s top priority at that position all along,” said Dave Telep, the senior national basketball recruiting analyst at ESPN.com. “We’re about to see whether or not that pays off. Indiana has earmarked him as their No. 1 guy, and I’m not sure that anyone else has, but North Carolina is his home state, so everything is possible.”

The prize in this recruiting battle is an extremely athletic wing with outstanding defensive skills. Pinson averaged 13.0 points per game this season leading a loaded Wesleyan Christian team that won a Class 3A private school state championship this season at North Carolina. He plays with the North Carolina-based CP3 All-Stars in travel ball, and in 13 games in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League so far this spring, he’s averaging 13.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He’s shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 78.1 percent from the foul line.

“The best way to describe him is as a Swiss Army Knife kind of guy,” Telep said. “He can do a little bit of everything.”

Said Wesleyan Christian coach Keith Gatlin: “He’s very versatile. He can pass or shoot, he defends, and he’s really a prototypical athlete.”
He can handle any position from point guard to small forward as a defender and his length and quickness give him the ability to neutralize whoever he’s guarding.

“He can shut people down defensively,” Telep said. “He’s got that kind of ability.”

His offensive game is varied though it isn’t entirely polished. He can slash and finish at the rim, draw contact and make free throws and Gatlin calls him a very underrated passer. He’s still working to find consistency with his jump shot in both the mid-range and 3-point land, but Gatlin said he’s made big strides in that regard.

“He shot the ball tremendously better this year,” Gatlin said. “The court will open up for him if he continues to improve like he is.”

The Hoosiers have seen that happen in their program, especially for Victor Oladipo, who went from being an unheralded recruit to an All-American and likely Top 10 pick in next month’s NBA Draft. They’ll be hoping they have another shot with Pinson, who is more advanced than Oladipo was as a high schooler in numerous aspects of his game.

Whether that will happen or not even Gatlin doesn’t know, but Pinson decided recently he was ready to end the recruiting process.

“I don’t know where he’s going,” Gatlin said. “He hasn’t shared that. He just told me he thinks it’s time.”

33 comments

  1. Lets hope! It says today at 12:15? I thought it was tomorrow at 12:15? Anyway, I hope we get the young blood. We will be overloaded in the back court upon his arrival, but who knows what’ll happen with the roster by then. It seems like 2014 will shape up to be a nice class with or without him. Good luck Hoosiers!

  2. My bad. It’s fixed. This is the story that will be in tomorrow’s paper. Hence the “today.” I forgot to change the dates to account for the fact that this was going on the blog.

  3. Cool. Ill keep my eyes out tomorrow. People are speculating and I am just waiting. On Peegs people are freaking out over the immediate playing time and it just hitting him about where to sign. I don’t think those comments mean anything. His dad seems to love us and he seems to love Crean. The good news is that if we don’t get the commitment we have numerous others in 2014 we’ve offered. It’ll shake out right in the end.

  4. It’s always nice to be in the running for a long, athletic wing who has good character and can guard 3 positions.
    I really hope we can get him out of NC.
    Hoosier Nation, if by chance we don’t get him let’s keep it classy and congratulate the young man. Let’s continue to separate our excellent fan base, from the UK fans and their ilk. Go Hoosiers.

  5. Say what you want about Crean, but he’s a great recruiter. Aside from the most virulent Crean-hating trolls and those suffering from TCDS, posts like #3 above are an indication that the Hoosier Nation is very confident that Crean knows how to recruit great talent.

    It’s about time IU reverse the traffic flow between the states of Indiana and North Carolina. Heaven knows that for many years, Duke and UNC have stolen enough of Indiana’s top High School basketball players.

  6. Given that both the Duke and UNC head basketball coaches are getting up there in years, I wonder if players are beginning to develop questions/doubts about how long Coach K and his rival at UNC will continue to coach? Since neither school really emphasizes recruiting the obvious “one-and-done” players, sooner or later that question is going to affect recruiting.

    When coach K retires, Duke’s program is going to take a big hit. It could be every bit as big a hit as IU took when Knight was fired by IU or when UCLA’s legendary coach retired.

  7. Actually IU’s program took hits well before RMK left. I like him and appreciate a lot about him but he wasn’t having great success for his last several years.

  8. While waiting for 12:15 Wednesday, can I give a few kudos to teachers, educators?

    Between the Oklahoma stories today to the Sandy Hook heroics and how many stories we don’t hear. Pretty sad the care and guidance they give for such little money.

  9. Dustin! You’re getting on my last nerve. Just because you’re afraid Bob Hammel will give you a tongue lashing for making a mistake doesn’t mean I should hold back for the Scoop faithful.

    I’ve been right about my “predictions” 100% of the time and that isn’t coincidence. Everyone here knows to take what I say to the bank!

  10. This is funny, but Dustin is right. He can speculate, but he can’t ‘report’ one way or another. He can only ‘report’ facts and has to wait until ‘after the fact to report them.

    I used to go to the race track when I lived in South America and there were always these guys, ‘arbolitos’ (‘little trees’ who hung out and when you walked by they’d say “#4 in the fifth, sure thing”; then the next person walked by they’d say “#6 in the fifth” and so n. One of them had to hit, and if you did you were expected to go back and give the ‘arbolito’ a ten from your winnings. The ‘arbolito’ always made out welll. He was getting $10 from more than 500 sources.

    Dustin can only report fact as fact (that’s his job and the professional ethics that bind him). He can express opinion just as you, a non-professional do; but it is not any more than that until it is a fact and he is obligated to distinguish between the two, fact and opinion (which he has done). I understand it will be 12:15 am E.T. then, hopefully your guess (based on other opinions) will be right (…or wrong). Either way, Dustin is still doing it the way he should.

  11. Was just reading up on that Wiggins character when I came across this gem of a quote from NBC:

    “But Wiggins isn’t a normal high school superstar. He doesn’t want attention. He doesn’t want the limelight. He didn’t want to be recruited. He wanted to be left alone — by coaches, by media members, by fans — so he could enjoy his life and make a decision on his own.”

    Clearly.

    That must be why he waited until his was the last major declaration in college hoops, a full month after the rest of the undeclared blue chippers revealed their choices at the McD’s game.

    Thank you, Theo. Thank you for not pretending. Thank you for not acting like the world should wait on you. Thank you for having the decency to not hold Indiana (and the other programs) hostage as long as possible. Thank you for being a man we can respect even if you aren’t wearing the Candy Stripes. We’d welcome you with open arms, but should you choose to go elsewhere, at least we can say thank you for giving us time to recover and move on to the next recruit. Hopefully tomorrow, we can also say thank you for joining the Hoosier family.

  12. TT – I don’t know if you’ve been following the state of journalism now but DD is holding himself up to a higher standard than most if he’s only reporting facts…especially in sports journalism (see espn.com since most of their stories are based on sources). Either DD doesn’t have sources as good as mine or he thinks he’s a journalist in the 1950’s.

    Punjab – I can’t agree with you on Wiggins being a prima donna . Both of his parents were decorated athletes at FSU and I can only imagine the pressure felt to let them down and not attend their school. If I was in his shoes, I’d have put that decision off as long as possible too. Not to mention he’s a generational type talent.

  13. ..Chet..Did you get near Springerville, Arizona while you were out west? About 300 miles north of Bisbee.

  14. Ron,no…we came in from the east along the Mexican border. What’sup with Springerville? I go out west a lot.

  15. Not saying Wiggins is a bad guy, Aruss. He may be too nice, in fact, not wanting to disappoint his folks at the unfortunate cost of holding everyone else up. In that regard, I can’t say I necessarily blame the young man for putting off the decision. Even if he knows it’s only a one-year commitment before jumping to the pros, you’re right that he must have been under tremendous pressure to make the right choce. But it makes claims that he hates the process seem questionable when he drags it out longer than anyone. (To me, too much of it wreaks of another generational talent dragging out “The Decision” to take his talents to South Beach.)

    I’m just glad Theo went the opposite route and declared early. It benefits everyone in the long run.

  16. Aruss – not to split hairs here, but the link you sent us to was a prediction… not a report. Alex Bozich (ITH) was on the list surveyed, and “predicted” IU, but he didn’t “report” that on his site.

  17. I had the results of the last Presidential election about August or September. Probably earlier.

  18. Chet..Family reunion. Not sure about Arizona in August. And don’t give me that “it’s a dry heat” thing.

  19. I’m glad Theo didn’t commit just so Aruss could look like a giant tool.

    Nice reporting Dustin. Good luck at UNC, Theo. Class move making the decision early so Crean wasn’t sending an army down to NC for the rest of the year. Upwards and onwards.

  20. Aruss, a swing and a miss!! Even the self proclaimed greats have a bad day but, yours is the worst! Apparently, your sources aren’t as good as you thought? You really need to back off of DD and let him do his job as he sees fit. Your down grading him looks a little petty now. Let the reporters do the reporting and sit back and enjoy it. You are just a common poster like the rest of us!

  21. Let’s not pile on Aruss here. Just about everybody thought Pinson was going to Indiana until this morning, and besides, Aruss is usually half-messing with me anyway.
    And let’s not act like I did something great here either. Frankly, I simply knew too little about what he was going to do to get my self in trouble. It wasn’t hard for me to resist publishing something, because I didn’t have anything even in the realm of iron-clad evidence that it was going to happen.
    But to speak to your philosophical point, Aruss, it’s not that anyone has a problem doing reporting based on “sources,” because frankly everyone you talk to is a source. It’s not even that I have a problem reporting with anonymous sources. But you have to have a standard for who your sources are in every circumstance. The standards, essentially are these. No. 1, do I trust that this person is both telling me the truth and close enough to the story that he knows for sure what is going on. No. 2, if I quoted this person using his actual name, would my readership consider his word credible for this particular story? I have to be able to tell my editor who my sources are, and he has to OK them. If I ever told my editors, “some guy on the Peegs board that goes by a fake name said, …” well, I’d get laughed out of the office. A lot of the time, the rumors that get passed around are right. But sometimes you even have a pretty good source and that source just happens to be wrong. That’s how CNN’s marathon bombing mishaps went down, and you don’t want to be the guy who puts out false information. You’d rather be the guy who is never wrong and never first than the guy who is always first but only sometimes right.

  22. That’s a pretty good explanation of ‘sources’ DD. The only place I disagree (I’m an unrepentant 1950’s type) is that the word sources is way too general and, indeed, could accurately describe anyone from the boards to the parking lot attendant at the Memorial Union to the prospect’s high school janitor.

    I absolutely abhor the term and believed (in my newspaper career) that there had to be a degree of identification that legitimized the source while protecting his/her identity if so requested (first choice was to warn the source the without his/her request, his/her identity would be used). The other criteria demanded by good editors and responsible journalists is that without some degree of reliable attribution (a source at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a source involved in the investigation, a source close to the team the reported rumor was no more than worthless guessing/speculation and unpublishable).

    Unfortunately, that criteria has changed, largely because of the race by poor journalists to be the first to announce on cable 24-hour news. Thus, the marathon mess, the manipulation (by all conflicting interests)of reported events (Benghazi is an example) etc., the goriness of pages, publishing of rumors, etc. It is destroying the credibility and the seriousness of purpose of legitimate, professional and ethical journalists.

    Anybody can blog or call in a rumor. Only serious, professional journalists can handle it as the serious issue that affect the way we live. In the realm of all things, whether a high school kid picks Indiana or North Carolina is definitely not a life influencing event. But, the way it is handled certainly sets a tone for those of us who care.

    Good job Dustin. I only disagree with your conclusion that we should not call it to Aruss’ attention. I have railed about rumor mongering and misleading gossip that affects real people (including Theo). We, as consumers of information, deserve to be taken seriously and you did your job.

  23. Tsao,
    Definitely agree with that point, just wasn’t trying to overcomplicate my response to Aruss. The goal is certainly to be as specific as possible when it comes to using sources. Sometimes you can’t give any hints because it would burn your source, and that is unfortunate, and part of the issue there is the NCAA. Say, for instance, I get a member of the coaching staff to confirm for me that a player has committed. Well, if I say, “an Indiana coaching staff source confirms the commitment” that staff is going to hear from his compliance office and he isn’t going to tell me anything ever again. But I think there are some reporters who choose not to use the name of their source not because that source would object but because it makes them look better if it appears that they have a network of connected, anonymous spies who get their info from wiretaps and hiding in bushes with cameras. And it is important whenever possible to give as much of a title to your source as you can whenever possible. Certainly see that in news reporting with “a high-ranking source in the Department of Justice,” or even “a decorated source in the intelligence community,” etc.

  24. Aruss, you must be too busy wiping all the egg off your face to have written your apology post to DD. Either that or you’re busy calling/emailing your sources to let them know that they’ve helped make you look bad. Hey, just razzing you a little bit. But in all seriousness, I hope you appreciate Dustin’s graciousness when you were proven wrong and hope that next time you won’t make such a strident joust at Dustin for maintaining his professional standards.

  25. Dustin, basically agree though I think a journalist can always find a way to relay the source’s legitimacy and protect the identity while making the reader aware that it is a reliable source close enough to have information on the subject at issue. (i.e. A source close to the recruitment of Pinson, in other words just an identifier that justifies the fact with some credibility). (I’m responding further to your comment not to challenge your criteria- you nearly always set high standards for yourself in this area, but to explain and lobby other Scoop readers that they should care and demand the validity of reporting).

    I was actually surprised with Aruss’ little joust with you. I had always found his comments valuable personal observations worth thinking about. His challenge to you disappointed me because of how personal it seemed. I wished demeaning personal attacks were not so prevalent in the Scoop It does make us sound like a bunch of Kentucky fans trying to convince their Indiana cousins they’ve learned how to read and write.

  26. Ron, better than it being “a dry heat” from checking the map it appears Springerville is at around 7,000 feet. Using the dry adiabatic lapse rate you can figure about 2 degrees C. cooler per 1000 feet above sea level. That’s quite a bit.

    It’s a nice area. I bet you really enjoy it.

  27. Right. I had forgotten the dry adiabatic lapse rate thing.
    Guess I’ll take a jacket. Given the height and the mountain peaks, do you think the Venture effect will kick in?

  28. LOL, too much time doing flight plans. That’s a routine calculation you have to account for.

    Up is colder down is warmer.

Comments are closed.