Hutchison (KS) CC combo forward Keanu Pinder originally committed to Nebraska before flipping to New Mexico in December. However, Pinder's recruitment wasn't over because in March he decided to open up his recruitment again.
"I just wasn't sure if I should go there," he told Pack Pride. "I wasn't confident about it so I decommitted. I felt that would be the best option for me."
Blessed with length and athleticism, Pinder was a major piece in Hutchison advancing to the JUCO National Championship game. As a sophomore he averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 23.9 minutes per game. He also totaled 62 blocks, 19th-most in the junior college ranks, and shot 52% from the field and 26% from 3-point range.
He really made his presence felt defensively, as his ability to block shots and defend multiple positions led to him being named co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Jayhawk Conference.
"Playing defense wasn't just my role, but I do that well," he said. "I believe I can defend from 1-to-5 so that makes me valuable because I can block shots and defend pick-and-rolls."
One of the new schools on Pinder is NC State. Heading up his recruitment is Wolfpack assistant Butch Pierre, who arrived last month at NC State from Oklahoma State.
"Coach Pierre didn't recruit me until he got to NC State," Pinder added. "He's the coach recruiting me know and led to me taking the official visit."
Pinder finished his NC State official on Monday, and he left impressed with the Wolfpack.
"The visit was really good," he said. "It was really cool. The facilities are very nice, and the coaches are cool. I'm comfortable there. I had family there too so that helps."
His connection to NC State is through his father, Tiny Pinder. The elder Pinder played forward for the Wolfpack from 1977-1979 before having an extensive professional career in Australia, where Keanu grew up. What did it mean to him being back at his father's alma mater?
"It was special," said Pinder. "To check out NC State, where he played... that was great."
Prior to leaving campus he had a chance to meet with the Wolfpack coaching staff.
"We talked about a bunch of things," he said. "They want me to play the three and the four position, and coach Gottfried talked about what all would happen if I went there."
Pinder didn't make a decision, but that wasn't expected to happen because his recruitment is far from over. He has trips lined up to South Carolina and Arizona for next week, and he's also still hearing from schools like SMU, West Virginia, and Cincinnati.
"I'm going to go to South Carolina and Arizona before making a decision," he stated. "I'm looking for a place I'm comfortable and will play a lot. I also want to see how they are going to develop me to be able to possibly play professionally.
"I'm still open. I'm going to take the visits and see what happens."null