LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Call it another coup for first-year New Mexico State men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar.
Heiar and the Aggies successfully garnered the commitment of LSU senior transfer Xavier Pinson on Wednesday afternoon. A 6’2 point guard who also played three years at Missouri and has one season of eligibility remaining, Pinson will immediately step in as one of NMSU’s top players.
The former Tiger made his commitment official on his Instagram page on Wednesday afternoon. He averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 assists in his lone season at LSU, helping the Tigers to a 22-12 record and the NCAA Tournament.
Momentum had been gaining for Pinson’s eventual commitment to New Mexico State for awhile. After initially entering the NCAA Transfer Portal, Pinson reportedly received interest from schools like Mississippi State and Xavier. However, when interest waned, he went on a visit to New Mexico State last weekend. Apparently, he liked what he saw enough to join forces with the Aggies.
Pinson is an athletic, quick guard who has shown a streaky shooting touch. He averaged 1.9 steals per game in 2021-22, second-most on LSU’s roster. There was also a point midway through the season where the Tigers were 16-1 with him in the lineup, showing how important he can be to a team.
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.
Coming to the WAC, Pinson could immediately become the best guard in the conference in his lone season at NMSU. He’ll join forces with what is, on paper, a potentially lethal Aggies roster. Pinson will likely start in the backcourt alongside DaJuan Gordon, a transfer from Missouri who averaged 8.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 2021-22.
Heiar has also signed three of the top junior college prospects on the market in wing DeShawndre Washington and big men Doctor Bradley and Issa Muhammad. Washington and Muhammad won a JuCo national championship with Heiar in 2021-22 at Northwest Florida State.
That could easily be NMSU’s starting five to open the 2022-23 season and doesn’t include the top three-point shooter at the JuCo level last season in Kyle Feit, Las Cruces High School star Deuce Benjamin returning players Michael Peake and Chi Chi Avery.
Heiar has said that skill development is his strongest attribute as a coach; he’s won over 90% of the games he’s been a head coach for. With the roster he’s currently put together, New Mexico State could once again be the favorite to win the WAC in its final season in the league.