One On One With Theo Pinson

One of the top overall players in the class of 2014 sat down with TDD this past weekend to discuss a number of topics including the increasing recruiting interest from Tobacco Road.

What's your reaction to the tough loss after coming back from 19 down?

Theo Pinson: Man, we just started out real slow and the other team, their confidence level got up, it's hard to beat teams, we just had to keep playing, there's nothing we can do about it now, just have to move on and play better as a team.

What was the mood in the huddle when you guys went down 19-0 at the start of the game?

I wasn't real happy about it, that's for sure, I felt like there was more I could have done to help the team. That's not the way I play at all, I should have done a lot more to help my team, not just scoring, everything else, rebounding, getting loose balls, there WILL NOT be another game like that, that's for sure, I know for me, I need to play a lot better moving forward.

You played the facilitator role quite a bit today, do you see yourself more as a wing guy, or a combo guard?

Oh, I'm a wing guy, that's what I consider myself. I don't have a problem playing anywhere, post, wing, it doesn't matter, whatever the team needs, I'll do it. I've played the four or the five sometimes, all I try to do is whatever it takes to help the team win, that's all that matters to me.

Having the ball in your hand and creating for other guys, is that something you do when you're not playing with Rodney, or do you do it all the time?

I do the same thing when he's here, usually it's me, him and Madison Jones bringing the ball up and one of us is trying to get open, so in this game without Rodney here, I was just trying to be active, and let Madison control the ball and let my teammates get their confidence up and do what I can.

Earlier in the Spring you were really aggressive offensively and today you seemed to be less aggressive, is that a game time decision or something else? What my parents and coaches tell me to do is to not go too fast. Sometimes, if I go too fast, I get out of control so I try to pace myself so that I don't get too extended and get called for some charges or turn the ball over. For me, eyes are all on me and when I'm dribbling, I'll kick it real quick so my teammate can hit a shot real fast before the defense sets and it gets their confidence up.

What do you mean when you say, "all eyes on me"?

I mean on the court, like I can see when I'm on the court and have the ball in my hands, I see everybody on the court and where they are at and what they are doing, so if I see somebody looking at me, I know that means that somebody is open, so I'm going to try and kick the ball quickly so my open teammate can get a shot.

That's a rare occurrence amongst young players to have that kind of vision. Has that always come natural to you?

Yeah, it's just something that's come real natural to me, my Team USA Coach, that was something that he liked about me a whole lot, was my attention to detail. It's just one thing that makes me a better player and helps my team win.

How has the Team USA experience been like for you so far, what have you done with them?

So far it's been the training camp and then we went to Cancun and won the Gold Medal out there. It was a real fun experience, the whole thing was great.

What was the bonding experience like with your teammates there, who did you get to know?

Yeah, bunch of guys I got to know, Jabari Parker was one that I really got cool with, but basically it was the whole team I got cool with, it wasn't like the Team USA guys had just picked the best players, they also picked the guys that were going to get along with each other, so that helped out a lot, we got along with each other really well, especially off the court.

How's the friendship going with Jabari, how much time did you guys spend together so far?

It's been going real good, we didn't know each other all that well before USA Camp, but now we've talked a lot more since playing together for Team USA. When we were together for the team, we stayed real focused when we were practicing and playing, but off the court, we just chilled, talked about the games, got on twitter, just did different things together.

What's it like getting to play alongside him?

Man, it's just an honor, when you've got him on the wing, going down with you, it just makes things so much easier, you can just give it to him and he'll go dunk hard on somebody, he just made the game so much easier for me and our team when we played.

You and Jabari are considered to be the top wings in your classes back to back, does he talk with you at all about how you guys are handling being that well known?

We don't really talk about recruiting all that much when we are together, it's just moreso talking about what's going on and we told each other before we left Team USA to stay in contact with each other in case we wanted to do something later.

Keeping with Team USA, has Coach K and the staff at Duke talked much with you about coaching the National Team?

Yeah, Coach K, when I was up on my visit there, we talked about how all the players he coached got better after playing for Team USA, they just kept working and got better. The international game, it's so physical that it helps me when it comes to playing AAU because there's things you can't do physically in international ball, just helps me get better as a player.

How do you feel about it when Coach K talks to you about coaching guys like Kevin Durant and others?

Yeah, it's cool, he did talk about it when we went down and visited Duke, he talked about Kevin Durant and how he was just a straight scorer for them and some things they setup as a team to help KD be a good scorer for the team. It's real cool knowing that he's coached not just Kevin, but Kobe and LeBron and all those guys.

Switching gears to high school, how did the transfer come about to Wesleya?

That was just me and my parents sitting down and figuring out what was the best situation for me.

It's been reported that UNC is getting involved, can you share how the interest has progressed there?

Yeah, it's them, Duke and Georgetown and a whole lot of other schools that are recruiting me pretty hard. As far as their interest, it's kind of equal with Duke, they keeping in touch with my dad, it's going pretty good.

Are there more similarities or differences between how UNC recruits versus how Duke recruits you?

It's hard to tell for sure because I've only taken one visit there, so I'm not sure how to answer that right now.

When you visited, did you meet with Coach Williams?

No, when I visited there, he wasn't there but I did meet some of the assistants, I spent time with Coach McGrath.

What did you get to see when you visited UNC?

I saw a whole lot, they showed me the locker room, the gym, weight room, chill area before you go to the game, it's like a little family area.

Any interaction with the players?

Yeah, I scrimmaged with them. It was real cool, they had some former players out there, guys like Raymond Felton, David Noel, some international guys and then some of the current guys.

How'd you feel playing with them?

It was real cool, had a good time with them playing.

How did it compare to playing with the Duke players when you visited there?

At UNC, it's just like straight up running, but at Duke, they running pick and rolls, back door cuts, it's just two totally different styles.

Do you prefer one style over the other now that you've played with both teams?

I could really do both of them, I know how to do both styles, so it isn't that big a deal to me.

How much interaction with the coaching staff at Duke did you have?

I had a lot more than I did at Carolina, it was good getting to know them.

Any visits lined up for the summer?

Yeah, I think I'm going to Georgetown this summer.

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