Pinson Ready For New Chapter

Every day you can read high school basketball players congratulating themselves on social media for putting up shots in the gym. Theo Pinson is not among them.

In his final days before moving to Chapel Hill, UNC signee Theo Pinson and Wesleyan (N.C.) High Point Christian head coach Keith Gatlin aren't focusing on the number of shots Pinson takes. They're focusing on makes.

The make drill helps simulate the importance of every possession and every point at the college level.

"When it's about makes, it magnifies how much each shot means," said Pinson. "Let's say you have to get to 150 makes. The longer it takes you the more it's going to hurt. So you need to make basically every shot or it's going to get harder and harder. It's like ‘I need this shot so my arm isn't about to fall off at the end of the workout.'"

Last month, Pinson traveled to Nike's EYBL tournament in Hampton, Va. to support his CP3 AAU team, which features 2016 UNC top target Harry Giles. It was a unique perspective for him and a humbling experience.

"I had a whole bunch of people up there that had respect for me. It's like you've been through all that and they're looking up to you and I was just there last year. Now I'm an EYBL alum. All the EYBL people were thanking me for coming, so it was cool."

Aside from his trip to Hampton, Pinson spent much of his time focusing on his final exams and finishing up his last few weeks of high school. He graduated from Wesleyan on May 30.

"The whole experience was just real fun," he said. "All of my family came down from both my mom's side and my dad's side. During the ceremony it hit me that I got it done. Now, I'm just ready for the new chapter at Carolina."

While the new chapter doesn't officially begin until Pinson moves into a South Campus suite with fellow signees Justin Jackson and Joel Berry on June 15, he's already started writing it.

Last week, he played pickup in the UNC practice facility with many of his future teammates – Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Marcus Paige, Nate Britt, Desmond Hubert, Jackson Simmons, Joel James and Luke Davis.

Soon, he'll be in the famed Smith Center pickup games that feature former Tar Heel greats who are still in the NBA or played in it at one time. Pinson is ready for the challenge.

"Honestly, me going up there before and playing with them when I was younger it's going to help me out a lot," he said. "They (the former players) want to win all the time. When I played against them when I was younger they took it so seriously.

"But, I'm not going to be overwhelmed," he continued. "We're just going to be out there competing. I know me and Joel (Berry), personally, we've talked about this before. When we step on the court, we're going to do whatever it takes to win."

Pinson, who now holds 190 pounds (self-reported) on his 6-6 frame, will sport No. 1 on his jersey at UNC. (He explains why in this interview.)

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