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THE RECRUITING GUY: Pinion calling on recruits to become Hogs

by Richard Davenport | April 13, 2021 at 2:10 a.m.

ESPN 4-star recruit Joseph Pinion of Morrilton is the lone commitment for University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman in the 2022 class, but he's doing his part to get others to join him.

"I've been recruiting multiple players from different states," he said. "I think it's going pretty well."

Pinion, 6-6, 180 pounds, pledged to the Hogs over 13 other scholarship offers from schools such as Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Ole Miss, Tulsa, DePaul and others in October. ESPN also rates him the No. 30 small forward and the No. 5 prospect in the state.

The 2022 in-state class also features touted guards Nick Smith of Sylvan Hills, Derrian Ford of Magnolia and Javion Guy-King of Mills, along with center Kel'el Ware of North Little Rock and forward Creed Williamson.

Pinion is working on the in-state talent while eyeing targets beyond the Arkansas border.

"I'm trying to get Nicky [Smith] here, for sure. I'm fixing to start on Kel'el," Pinion said. "Get the Arkansas guys here first, and then I'm going to start expanding out to the other states."

He helped the Devil Dogs reach the Class 4A title game as a junior while averaging 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block a game. He shot 58% from two-point range, 40% from the three-point line and 74% from the free-throw line.

Pinion averaged 18 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 steals a game as a sophomore, and 12.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block as a freshman.

He'll play this spring and summer with the 17-under Arkansas Hawks. Former Razorbacks great and NBA veteran Corliss Williamson is coaching the Hawks and is excited about the addition of Pinion.

"Joseph is a player," Williamson said. "He has the ability to shoot the basketball, as we all know, and score. The biggest thing for him ... would be defensively. I'm challenging him to get out and defend more on the perimeter.

"In high school, all of our guys have a tendency to lay back because they tried not to get into foul trouble during the season. So trying to get that out of their system, but I think Joseph is primed for a good spring and summer. He's going to be a matchup problem for a lot of teams."

Pinion was thrilled to see the Razorbacks make it to the Elite Eight and finish with a 25-7 record.

"It was amazing," he said. "I was really happy to see them succeed. I thought they should've played for the championship and probably won it the way they played Baylor."

For fans who haven't had a chance to meet Musselman, Pinion described his future coach.

"He's the same off the court as he is on the court," Pinion said. "He's really energetic. He's happy to do what he does and he does it well."

Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]

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