Missouri got one step closer to solving its point-guard problem for next season when Xavier Pinson committed to the program Monday night.
Pinson, a 6-foot-2 point guard, was in Columbia on an official visit last weekend and saw Missouri beat No. 21 Kentucky for the first time in program history.
“I loved it,” Pinson said of his visit. “The atmosphere was nice and all the people showed a lot of love and hospitality.”
Missouri has struggled with point-guard play all season and currently has one scholarship point guard in junior Jordan Geist after freshman guards Blake Harris and CJ Roberts transferred and junior Terrence Phillips is suspended while under Title IX investigation.
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The Tigers have used graduate transfer Kassius Robertson as a point guard throughout the season, a position he’s never played before after being a sharpshooter for most of his career. Pinson’s commitment gives Missouri a true floor general to help Geist, with Robertson set to graduate and Phillips’ future with the program uncertain.
Considered an elite passer, Pinson chose Missouri over Georgetown and Wisconsin. He plays for Simeon Career Academy, a school known for producing NBA stars Jabari Parker and Derrick Rose. Pinson played AAU ball for Mac Irvin Fire, another historic program that Parker and former Duke star Jahlil Okafor played for.
“I bring good athleticism and am someone that can handle the ball,” Pinson said. “I can make all my teammates better.”
Pinson was hosted on his visit by Missouri forwards Michael Porter Jr. and Mitchell Smith. He said he loves the Tigers’ ability to stay in games and fight, as well as the way coach Cuonzo Martin is with his players.
“I love the team,” he said. “I love the energy. Cuonzo is active with the players. It’s almost like he’s on the court when he’s coaching because he’s so into the game.”
Missouri signee Torrence Watson attended Saturday’s game and also helped sell Pinson on the program. Pinson said the two know each other through AAU and were friendly with one another but have grown closer since Missouri started recruiting him.
Assistant coach Cornell Mann was the lead recruiter for Pinson, who is rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals.com. Pinson was previously committed to Kent State but reconsidered his options after a breakout season.
With Pinson’s pledge, Missouri still has one scholarship to fill. He joins a now four-man class of Watson, KJ Santos and Javon Pickett. He plans to sign in April, when the late signing period starts.