It took point guard Joel Berry less than two days after declaring for the NBA Draft to decide he, instead, wanted to return for his senior season at UNC.
For wing Theo Pinson, it didn’t take much longer–as the Greensboro native announced Wednesday he, too, will remove his name from draft consideration and return to play out his final year in a Tar Heel uniform.
“I’m glad I took the time to explore the NBA Draft process but I am going to play my senior year as a Tar Heel,” Pinson said, in a statement released by the university. “It was a dream of mine to play college basketball at the best school and in the best league in the country, and it is a dream of mine to play in the NBA as well.
“The best path for me to reach the league and have a long career there is to have a great senior season,” he added. “And I am so excited to have that opportunity to play another year for Coach Williams and finish my degree as well.”
A broken foot cost Pinson the first 16 games of last season, while an ankle injury forced him to miss three more during the heart of ACC play.
Pinson has become a fan favorite in Chapel Hill due to his gregarious personality, press conference antics–he’s been known to barge in on them–and incredible sideline dancing abililty.
After sophomore Kenny Williams went down with a knee injury in mid-February, Pinson assumed a crucial role in the starting lineup alongside Berry in the backcourt during UNC’s run to the national championship.
The 6-foot-6-inch swingman averaged 6.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the 21 games he played in–showcasing incredible versatility and playmaking ability.
His return is a major boost to a Tar Heel team losing three starters from last year’s championship team in Justin Jackson (NBA Draft), Kennedy Meeks (graduation) and Isaiah Hicks (graduation).