Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Pinion driving recruits to Arkansas
Morrilton's Joseph Pinion goes up for a shot during the Class 4A boys state championship game against Mills on Saturday, March 10, 2021, in Hot Springs. Pinion is committed to play college basketball at Arkansas.
Since Morrilton guard Joseph Pinion committed to the University of Arkansas, he’s been in the ears of others hoping to convince them to be Hogs.
Pinion, 6-6, 180 pounds, of Morrilton, chose the Razorbacks over scholarship offers from Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Ole Miss, Tulsa, DePaul and others in October.
He assisted Coach Eric Musselman and his staff in landing ESPN 4-star small forward Barry Dunning of Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen Catholic on July 4. A commitment from 4-star guard Derrian Ford of Magnolia came 11 days later.
Pinion and Morrilton defeated Ford and the two-time defending Class 4A state champions 70-64 in the semifinals of the state tournament in March.
“I’m glad he was on board with us,” said Pinion of Ford. “I know he gave us the work during school ball, so I know he’s a great player. He can do whatever he needs to do. I’m really happy he got to join us.”
Pinion is also recruiting ESPN 4-star center Malik Reneau of Montverde Academy in Florida and others.
“I’m just trying to recruit whoever wants to be a Hog,” he said.
Reneau announced a top seven of Arkansas, Florida, Memphis, Florida State, Miami, Seton Hall and Indiana on Aug. 1. Pinion talks up Musselman and his staff’s 72 years of NBA experience to other recruits.
“They can get you to the pros,” Pinion said. “They all have pro- level experience. Their experience is next to none. They can get you there. All you have to do is trust and believe them.”
Pinion averaged 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block as a junior while shooting 58% from two-point range, 40% from three and 74% at the free throw line.
He averaged 18 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 steals per game as a sophomore, and 12.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block as a freshman.
Pinion played for the 17-under Arkansas Hawks this spring and summer. With the increased talent on the Hawks, he was able to help spread the ball around.
“I really got to be more of an off-ball kind of guy,” he said. “I got to pass to my teammates.”
He’s focused on getting better for his high school season and for when he gets to Fayetteville.
“I still have to get a lot stronger and a lot faster horizontally moving side-to-side, staying in front of all the quicker guys in the SEC,” Pinion said.
Playing basketball at a high level demands working out and playing on a nearly year-round basis without much downtime.
“You have to make sure you get all the rest you can,” Pinion said. “You don’t have a lot of days to rest. You really have to recover, ice, do all the things. Stretch.”
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