Pinson Concluding Long Summer

LONG BEACH, Calif. --- It's been a long summer on the road for future Tar Heel wing Theo Pinson.

He's spent the last few days at Adidas Nations, which features some of the top high school players in the United States as well as Africa, Australia, Latin America, Russia and the Philippines.

Each team played three games of pool play starting Friday night and ending Sunday morning. After beginning pool play 2-0, Pinson started to recap his summer.

"I had a chance to win everything," Pinson noted. "I didn't get the championship I wanted in Peach Jam or the Global Challenge, but I'm happy with the way I played and with how my teammates played."

On Monday night at 9 p.m. EST, Pinson will get one more chance to win a championship during the summer as his team is set to play in the Adidas Nations title game against another USA team that features the top player in the country in Jahlil Okafor along with elite forwards Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson.

After playing a leading role for his CP3 AAU team in July, Pinson has taken more of a supportive role in California. Through four games Pinson was averaging 6.5 points along with three rebounds and three assists.

"Out here, you are playing with so many talented players and such good competition you need to show other things you can do besides score," Pinson said.

In three days, Pinson did just that for his team. In each game he matched up with the opponents' top perimeter threat. On Saturday night against the Latin America team he harassed one of the leading camp scorers, Braian Alexander Angola Rodas, into a 1-for-9 shooting performance. Along with his defensive efforts he also shared ball-handling duties with some of the other guards on his team. He looked comfortable bringing the ball up the court and created easy dunks for his big men with pinpoint passes off of penetration.

"Theo's great," said his Adidas Nations coach Joe Wooten, who has coached former Tar Heels Marcus Ginyard and Kendall Marshall at Bishop O'Connell (Va.). "He plays the game the right way and is going to be a good addition for UNC."

During the month of July Pinson became more aggressive on the offensive end. At Peach Jam, he increased his scoring average from 13.8 to 17.4 points per game primarily due to his ability to drive to the basket and attack the defense. In two separate games, Pinson got to the line 18 times where he hit a total 33 out of 36 free throws.

"That's my game. Get to the free throw line. In the Peach Jam game we were down so I knew I had to slow the clock down," said Pinson. "Coach Williams likes people that get to the free throw line so he told me to keep doing that."

While Pinson shot 90 percent from the free throw line during Peach Jam he knows that he needs to continue to work on his outside shot where he hit just 30 percent of his threes.

"The UNC staff said for me to keep working on my shot," noted Pinson. "When I look at stats, I look at my field goal percentage. I really want to keep it consistent. At the EYBL I had a few games where I was 2-for-7, 2-for-8, I just want to keep it at a reasonable level."

Over the course of the summer, Pinson played in a total of 26 Nike EYBL games and another four games at the Nike Global Challenge in Washington D.C. All of this time on the Nike AAU circuit allowed him to form a close bond with the other two Tar Heel commitments in his class in point guard Joel Berry and small forward Justin Jackson. Berry's AAU team knocked off Pinson's team in the Peach Jam finale, but then the following week the two shared the court together playing for the USA East team at the Global Challenge.

"We've got a group text message going on right now, so we're always talking to each other and talking junk," Pinson said.

Looking ahead to his senior year, Pinson is excited to try and help his Wesleyan Christian team repeat as state champions. Even with their star center Harry Giles out for the season with an injury, Pinson thinks a repeat is within reach.

"Oh, yeah, we have enough talent to do it, so we should be able to repeat."

For now, Pinson has one game left at Adidas Nations where he is going to try to capture the championship trophy that has eluded him throughout the summer. With one game left Pinson's long summer is coming to an end, although he still has a strong chance of being selected to participate in the Elite 24 All-Star game in New York on August 24th. After Pinson plays his final game of the summer, he has plans to rest his body for a bit before getting back to work.

"I'll probably rest up for a week, but then I'll get right back to it," said Pinson. "I love this and college is right around the corner."

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