CFA Takeout: Theo Pinson

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Despite a reputation for being more of a slasher than a shooter, Pinson is putting together a complete season.

On the list of things you shouldn't trust, like beachfront property in Oklahoma or someone who won't look you in the eye, a basketball player who shoots with his elbow flying out has to rank pretty highly.

Too many occasions over the years, I've seen effective high school shooters with that particular mechanical flaw struggle in college, as the closeouts become more intense and the overall speed of the game increases.

For that reason, then, Theo Pinson's jump shot always has generated dialogue among scouts. He never has been a poor shooter in terms of performance, but there's also no disputing the chicken wing on his shot. Along with the fact that he at times blended too frequently on the travel circuit, he began to attract the label of non-scoring, utility wing.

But he began to turn that around in July and especially at events in the fall. And now during his senior campaign, he's shooting the lights out. In his first outing at the Chick-Fil-A Classic, he shot 5-8 on threes en route to 21 points. So his form hasn't changed, yet he's shooting better than ever.

Further evidence in Pinson's corner is that he has been a very solid free throw shooter. He obviously possesses good touch, and there's ample precedent for players with unorthodox form proceeding to light up the nets in college and the NBA.

On the downside, sometimes his errant attempts miss the mark badly. Pinson still tosses up the occasional boardball, always a concern when assessing a player's chances of being consistent.

Of course, he's far more than a perimeter score. In a futile attempt to bring back Wesleyan versus Oak Hill on Friday, he began attacking more aggressively off the dribble and going all the way to the basket. He doesn't possess much of a pull-up jump shooting game, an area for him to cultivate while in Chapel Hill. But as a finisher (especially as he gains strength) and passer, he is top-notch. Pinson always has possessed commendable body control and over the years has become a sensational passer for a wing.

He also is a tough defender and has developed a penchant for winning. Pinson's all-around ability and intangibles remain intact, and now there's increasing evidence that he may become a legitimate three-point shooting weapon as well.


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