Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Contingency plans for Pinson's finalists
By Reggie Rankin
When No. 13 junior Theo Pinson announced his decision date, he also trimmed his list to five programs: Indiana, North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and national champion Louisville.
Well, he elected to stay in North Carolina and join the Tar Heels, leaving the four other programs scrambling to secure a different elite wing. Let’s take a look at the possible course of action for the four bridesmaids in the Pinson pursuit.
ESPN 60 SF Trevon Bluiett is a priority recruit for Butler, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, DePaul and Cincinnati.
The Hoosiers landed four 2013 small forwards in Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson, Devin Davis and Collin Hartman, and all are expected to be in Bloomington for more than one season. While Pinson would’ve been a nice complement to sharpshooting guard James Blackmon Jr., Tom Crean is still in the mix with several other high-level 2014 wings. Look for Indiana to keep pursuing ESPN 60 players JaQuan Lyle, Trevon Bluiett, Kentucky native D'Angelo Russell, Georgia scoring machine Ahmad Hill and Phil Booth, who hails from the same DMV area as former Hoosier and potential lottery pick Victor Oladipo. In the Class of 2015, I’m hearing whispers the Hoosiers like King McClure and Malachi Richardson, to name a few.
The National Champs probably weren’t that surprised by Pinson’s decision, and the staff has plenty to be excited about with its incoming class. Scoring shouldn’t be a problem in 2013 or 2014 as Louisville brings in a bevy of shot makers in Terry Rozier, Anton Gill and Chris Jones from the junior college ranks. And Louisville’s 2014 haul is off to an excellent start with in-state point guard Quentin Snider and Shaqquan Aaron, one of the nation’s longest and athletic wings, on board. Pinson would’ve been the icing on the cake, but Rick Pitino already has a number of long, athletic wings set to run with Snider. The Cardinals are reportedly in good shape with Lyle and are working on Russell and West coast stud Stanley Johnson, so the champs certainly have options outside of Pinson. Also, Tyler Dorsey and Price Ali are two 2015 forwards who could be on Pitino’s radar.
Few shooters can fill it up like 2014 SG Devin Booker.
Coach K has two big-time 2013 small forwards in the fold in Jabari Parker, who could be a one-and-done player, and Semi Ojeleye, who is very talented but will likely be around for a couple of years. 2014 SG Grayson Allen and Pinson would’ve formed a nice combo on the perimeter and elevated Duke into the discussion for most explosive wing tandems in the country, but instead, they’ll now face off in ACC play. The Blue Devils will turn their attention to Justise Winslow, Kevon Looney, Devin Booker and Booth on the wing. They’re working tirelessly in their main pursuit of a pair of bigger fish: the package of Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor. Looking ahead to the Class of 2015, Duke has its sights set on Texas SF Mickey Mitchell.
The Hoyas would have Pinson join fellow North Carolina native Isaac Copeland and up-and-coming lead guard Tre Campbell, but that plan is now scrapped. Instead, look for John Thompson III to continue to mine his own backyard for talent and try to land Booth or Maryland sharpshooter Dion Wiley. Former Whitney Young small forward L.J. Peak has been mentioned as another target along with Texas marksmen Kelly Oubre and Booker. The Hoyas are also hoping to get in on the Looney sweepstakes. In 2015, I hear the Hoyas have their eyes on Malachi Richardson.