Xavier Pinson rolled the dice.
With no assurances or guarantees of what was ahead of him, Pinson made some major decisions over the past six months.
The 6-3 point guard decided to transfer out of St. Patrick following his junior year, heading to Simeon, the most recognizable high school program in the state of Illinois that was loaded with returning talent.
Pinson then began a recruiting adventure, which included a de-commitment from a mid-major program in October in hopes of gaining high-major interest. That odyssey ended Monday night.
Pinson committed to Missouri and head coach Cuonzo Martin.
“I knew and believed,” says Pinson of his decision to de-commit from Kent State and play out his senior season. “No disrespect to Kent State, because I like their staff and it’s a great program, but I wanted to show people that I could play at a higher level.”
Pinson’s road to the high-major level was eventful. How about this wild recruiting timeline:
•When the April evaluation period had concluded, just 10 months ago, Pinson had two scholarship offers –– from Chicago State and Western Illinois.
• By the time the July evaluation period arrived, Pinson had added offers from SIUE and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
•Pinson then sparkled in July, showcasing his point guard skills and elite passing ability. Mid-major programs across the midwest took notice. There were 10 more mid-major offers on the table when Pinson started his senior year at Simeon in September.
•After taking a few fall visits, Pinson ultimately decided between Drake and Kent State. He committed to Kent State the first week of October, only to de-commit less than a week later.
•Pinson didn’t sign with anyone in November, accepted his role off the bench for Simeon and has flourished as a pass-first point guard for the No. 1 ranked team in the state. By mid-January a few schools who had evaluated Pinson all fall and into his senior season pulled the trigger and offered, including Georgetown, Dayton, Saint Louis and Memphis.
•Missouri and Wisconsin both followed with January offers and were able to get Pinson on campus in the past week, including a visit to Missouri this past weekend.
Pinson was sold following his trip to Missouri.
“Their coaching staff and fans showed a lot of love,” says Pinson of an immediate connection he had while visiting Missouri. “The coaches made me feel really comfortable. And the fans? The fans were crazy, showing me a ton of love.”
Missouri is in desperate need for point guard help. The Tigers lost freshmen point guards C.J. Roberts and Blake Harris, who both decided to transfer midseason, while point guard Terrence Phillips was suspended under Title IX investigation.
“That played a big factor in my decision,” says Pinson of the available minutes at point guard. “There is a chance to play there early.”
Pinson has a controlled and smooth game. He has established himself as the best passing point guard in the state of Illinois with tremendous vision and an uncanny ability to throw pinpoint alley-oop passes from 25 to 35 feet from the basket.
Offensively, the very slender Pinson is an inconsistent but improving shooter. He has the capability of using his quickness, length and long strides to his advantage, getting by defenders, into the lane and to the basket.