Add another name to the list of backcourt players being
recruited by East Carolina. And itís a name that wasnít even in the
"available" column six weeks ago.
J.R. Pinnock, a 6-4 swingman at Virginia Beach (VA) Coastal
Christian Academy, said in the middle of October that he would attend
Wichita State next year. But the commitment did not hold up as he failed to
sign a letter of intent with the Shockers during Novemberís early signing
Now, heís fair game again, and Wichita State is no longer
mentioned when talking about Pinnockís future.
"He got to thinking about how far away Wichita State is,"
said Walter Webb, the basketball coach at Virginia Beach (VA) Coastal
Christian Academy. "He just wanted to be closer to home."
Home for Pinnock is McDonough, GA, where he averaged 21
points, six rebounds and four assists as a junior at Eagles Landing High
"J.R. is already away from home this year," Webb said, "and
he doesnít want to move farther away next year. He would like to go to
college back in Georgia, but if not, he at least wants to be closer than
Wichita. He hopes he can be close enough that his family and friends will
have a chance to see him play once in a while."
East Carolina has jumped into the hunt for Pinnock and may
be the leader. Others showing interest include George Washington, Liberty
and Hampton. Liberty offered a scholarship back in the fall when Oklahoma
and Louisiana State had J.R. on their recruiting lists.
The Pirates have not offered Pinnock a scholarship yet,
according to Webb, but he expects that to happen.
"They seem real interested to me," Webb said. "Someone from
East Carolina saw him play in the Bull City Classic (in Durham), and Iím
hoping they will see him this weekend (Dec. 12-14) in our Christmas at the
Pinnock is averaging 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 6.3
assists through nine games (5-4), while hitting 49 percent of his
three-point shots and 86 percent of his free throws.
"We have four players averaging in double figures," Webb
said, "so there are others who can score. J.R. doesnít have to do
everything. But he is a player who can do a lot of things.
"He jumps pretty well and can help on the boards. He is a
good shooter ó he has always been able to do that ó with plenty of range. He
can get his own shot easily and shoots it just as well off the dribble or
catching a pass.
"J.R. needs a little work on his ball handling, and thatís
coming along. He has to protect the ball better in traffic. He is a great
finisher. He takes it to the basket and gets to the free throw line a lot.
"He is having to play defense here," Webb said. "He is
learning a lot more about the game on a higher level. He is playing against
postgraduates, guys who are stronger and older than he is. Heís going
against better players, and that makes him better.
"He will be a wing guard/small forward in college. For us,
heís a small forward."
Webb said Pinnock is in no hurry, and that he is very
interested in ECU.
"I know he will take a visit there if heís invited. His only
visit has been to Wichita State. East Carolina is closer to home, but
thereís more to it than that. Their basketball team is off to a good start,
and it looks like they have things going in the right direction. And
Conference USA is very appealing.
"I think J.R. is being under-recruited big-time," Webb said.
"If East Carolina gets him, it would be getting a big steal. A lot of times,
kids donít get the exposure it takes to be recruited heavily. People just
donít know about him. He will look around and see who comes after him.
"He could wait until April to make his college decision."
Cincy adds fourth
Cincinnatiís 2003 recruiting class got stronger with the
addition of James White. He becomes the fourth member of that class, joining
6-7 small forward Mike Pilgrim and a pair of jucos, 6-3 wing guard Nick
Williams and 6-10 center Robert Whaley, all of whom signed last month.
White, a 6-6 small forward, announced in early November that
he was leaving Florida following a freshman season in which he played just
over 20 minutes per game. Playing time was the reason for his decision to
White averaged 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds. His best game
came against Tennessee when he scored 18 points and grabbed eight boards in
He visited Cincinnati and Missouri. He plans to enroll at
Cincinnati in January, making him eligible to play for the Bearcats in
January of 2004.
White was suspended three times while at Florida, once last
year for violating team rules and twice this year for possession of a
paintball gun. He underwent surgery in mid-October for the removal of a cyst
from his left knee.
He was ranked the No. 10 prospect in the country by
Prepstars.com when he was a senior at Chatham (VA) Military Academy. An
exciting player in the open court, White is a fine athlete noted for his
leaping ability and crowd-pleasing dunks.