LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State senior point guard Xavier Pinson has received a waiver from the NCAA and is eligible to play in the 2022-23 season, the school announced on Monday.

Pinson will be eligible to play in New Mexico State’s season-opening game vs. New Mexico Highlands on Monday at the Pan American Center. It’s the first game of new head coach Greg Heiar’s tenure at NM State.

A transfer from LSU, Pinson’s status was in limbo for most of the offseason and preseason workouts and he missed the Aggies’ exhibition game last week vs. Western New Mexico because of it.

Sources told KTSM throughout the process that Pinson’s waiver was related to academics, but there was always a quiet confidence from NMSU brass that the NCAA would rule in his favor.

His addition to the team is an immediately massive boost to Heiar’s first squad at NMSU. Pinson put up big numbers at both LSU and Missouri before that in the SEC and could be a candidate for WAC Player of the Year.

Pinson averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 assists in his lone season at LSU in 2021-22, helping the Tigers to a 22-12 record and the NCAA Tournament. Before his lone season at LSU, Pinson played three years at Missouri. In 2019-20, the Chicago native averaged 11.1 points and 2.8 assists. In 2020-21, he scored 13.6 points and dished out 2.9 assists for Missouri.

New Mexico State is still waiting to hear on an NCAA waiver request for Arizona transfer, Kim Aiken Jr. As of Monday, the Aggies had not received an answer. Aiken Jr’s waiver has more to do with his last school, Arizona, but still must be cleared through the NCAA.

Aiken Jr. played in just seven games at Arizona in 2021-22, averaging 5.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1 steal per game. He was absent from the team for a Dec. 8 game vs. Wyoming, after which Wildcats head coach Tommy Lloyd said he was gone for personal reasons. Aiken Jr. never returned to Arizona after that.

Before coming to Tucson, Aiken Jr. was an integral part of Eastern Washington’s team for three seasons. It culminated in Aiken Jr. averaging 11.3 points per game and being named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21, as the Eagles made the NCAA Tournament.

New Mexico State will wait to hear from the NCAA regarding Aiken Jr., but they’ll be celebrating on Monday with Pinson in the fold in time for the season opener vs. New Mexico Highlands.