Pinson's Turn

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Rashad McCants endured it. Chris Paul experienced it. John Wall dealt with it. Now, it's Theo Pinson's turn.

Being the top player in your class in the basketball-crazed state of North Carolina – not to mention one publication's early pick for No. 1 in the nation -- comes with both attention and pressure.

Following the CP3 All-Stars' Tuesday evening win at the Peach Jam, the Class of 2014's Pinson experienced both. The 6-foot-5, 170-pound guard from Greensboro, N.C. was swarmed by reporters wanting to know about his experiences with USA Basketball, his trips to storied campuses and his relationships with other top high school players.

Pinson credits his parents with keeping him grounded, despite the amount of attention he has – and will – receive.

"My parents continue to tell me to stay humble," said Pinson, who won a gold medal with Team USA at the FIBA Americas U16 tournament last month. "I have to remind myself that these kids out here are still working. We have a lot of kids in our class that are really good, that could be No. 1 also."

It's that kind of attitude, along with off-the-charts athleticism and an attacking style of play, that has already made Pinson a priority for some of the top schools in the country at just 15 years old.

"They say (they like) my length, my defense and the way I attack the rack and get my teammates involved," he said.

Pinson rattled off familiar names like Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, N.C. State, Kentucky, UConn, Tennessee, South Carolina and Wake Forest as schools that are interested in him. Many of those schools had members of its coaching staff watching Pinson's game on Tuesday night. Despite the attention, he said he tries to focus on the game and not who's watching him.

"You have to keep playing basketball and try not to think about it," he said. "You can talk about that stuff outside of the game. You just try to focus on winning the game first."

After speaking with UNC assistant coach C.B. McGrath after the Carolina Challenge in March, Pinson took an unofficial visit to UNC where he met with McGrath, toured the Smith Center and joined the team for some pickup ball.

"It was a cool experience," he said. "Everything is high-tech there and the players are real cool. It's a real cool atmosphere. I'm trying to get up there for a game and see what it's like at game time."

In addition to UNC, Pinson has visited Duke and Wake Forest. After attending Oak Ridge Military Academy as a freshman, Pinson will be at Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C. in the fall.

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