UNC Basketball: 3 Ways Theo Pinson Will Make a Big Impact on the '14-15 Heels

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2014

McDonald's East All-American Theo Pinson, of Greensboro, N.C., competes in the skills contest during the McDonald's All-American Jam Fest at the University of Chicago in Chicago, on Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
Andrew Nelles/Associated Press

North Carolina may be the deepest college basketball team in the 2014-15 season.

People in Lexington, Kentucky may take issue with that statement. The fact is that Roy Williams has assembled a gifted group of collegiate hoopers who are athletic and able at every position on the court.

When you combine the more-than-capable returning Tar Heels with the exceptional class of 2014 recruits, it is easy to see why Carolina's followers are pumped about what is ahead.

One of the exceptional incoming freshmen who will be nearly impossible to keep off the court is the versatile small forward from Greensboro, Theo Pinson.

The wiry, 6'6" wing will battle multi-talented junior J.P. Tokoto for minutes on the perimeter.

It may be hard for Pinson to bump Tokoto out of the starting five. However, you can be sure that UNC fans will quickly see why the nifty newcomer was a 5-star McDonald's All-American and that he will be a key component to what is likely to be an electrifying year in Chapel Hill.

Here are three ways Pinson will make a big impact in his initial season for North Carolina.

Explosive Slasher

One of the most dangerous features about Pinson's game is his ability to get to the rim against virtually anybody.

He has no problem putting the ball on the deck. A quick burst and then he can use his freakish vertical to rise over defenders of all sizes.

He has a decent mid-range game, but Pinson is known for being able to change the flow of games with one of his remarkable, roaring slams.

Pinson is not a high-volume shooter. In this year's Jordan Brand Classic, Pinson scored an efficient 10 points in 16 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting.

Whether it is after he has run the floor or when he gets the ball when the Heels set it up, Pinson will find ways to put points on the board as he attacks the bucket.

Grantland's Danny Chau declared:

The Tar Heels are getting one of the most exciting players in the class, and Pinson has an outsize personality to match his explosiveness. On Monday at the Powerade Jam Fest, he unofficially won the night with the best prop dunk I’ve seen in years: the "Selfie Dunk," which narrowly edged out the time in August when Pinson won a dunk contest by dunking over his mom 

Unselfish Distributor

Most small forwards are geared toward creating their own scoring opportunities.

More than just being able to get his shots, Pinson is a generous setup man, skilled at delivering the ball to his teammates.

He showed throughout his high school career that he was capable of handing out assists in bunches, regardless of which of the three perimeter positions he was playing at the time.

City League Hoops' Rodger Bohn believes Pinson is the "2014 best passing wing." Bohn says that he "blends the ability to make the simple pass with the spectacular." 

Williams' wide-open offensive philosophy is perfect for a generous, all-around player like Pinson.

Because he possesses a good handle, Pinson will be able, at times, to lead the break or do some of his best work within the context of the half-court offense.

Ferocious Defender

Though he is a skilled player on the offensive end, the place where Pinson will make an immediate impact is as a lockdown stopper.

In an interview with the Associated Press' Aaron Beard, Pinson's high school coach, Keith Gatlin, a former Maryland player, declared that "Theo is a two-way player that likes to play both sides of the floor."

Because of his length and agility, he is a terror in the passing lanes, and he makes it hard for wings to get good looks from outside. 

Do not be surprised to see Roy put Pinson on any of the three perimeter positions at various times.

If Williams wants to make life miserable for opponents, he may play Pinson and Tokoto in the same lineup.

Talk about a cold-blooded pair.

Looking Ahead

Pinson is not likely to set any Tar Heel freshman scoring records in the upcoming season. With a talented perimeter corps, playing time will be at a premium.

But his high-flying artistry will make him a fan favorite, and his versatility and energy will make him a valuable part of Roy's rotation from Day 1. 


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