Former LMU standout Pinson building professional career

Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Basketball has always been a passion for former Railsplitter hoops great Dorian Pinson. That has not changed since he graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in 2018. Since turning pro, basketball is still a passion, and now his business. He puts the same passion into the business side of the game as he does on the court.

Pinson is now a key player for the Niagara River Lions of the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The River Lions finished first in their division and begin playoff play Saturday, Aug. 24 in Saskatoon, Alberta. Last year, he played in the German Pro A League for the White Wings Hanau team, where he joined former Railsplitter LuQuon Choice.

The Greenville, S.C. native found the transition from college to the professional ranks challenging.

“It was tough and a step back for me in Germany,” commented Pinson. “We weren’t a very good team.”

In Germany, Pinson quickly realized that his approach to the pro game had to be more businesslike than his time in college.

“I had to take more of a business approach to the game,” he said. “I had to take the game more seriously and treat it like a job.”

He had plenty of help in developing that attitude from Choice and other LMU teammates playing in various professional leagues around the world.

“I talked to Lu, Gerel (Simmons), Vinnie (Bailey), Trevon (Shaw) and Woodson (Paul),” Pinson recalled. “We talked about making sure we do the right thing and they gave me some insight into maturity. Paul has really helped me from a business perspective. I talk with him often.”

He has also leaned on his LMU coaches for guidance.

“I was at LMU earlier this year and had lunch with coach Schertz,” he explained. “I also stay in touch with Coach Omar (Wattad) and Jerm (Jeremiah Samarrippas).”

For his part, Schertz always new Pinson’s competitive spirit and knowledge of the game would pull him through at the next level.

“Dorian Pinson is as fierce a competitor as I’ve coached,” stated Schertz. “He was the most intuitive player I have ever coached, along with being as good a leader as we’ve had during my time at LMU. I am not at all surprised by his early success at the professional level. To me there is a difference between being a pro and having a pro career, Dorian will be the one to carve out a career for himself at that level.”

Coaches and general managers in both Germany and Canada consulted with Schertz before signing the 6-foot-5 guard/forward.

“As I told his coaches in Germany and Canada, Dorian instantaneously makes any organization he joins better,” Schertz said. “His ability and versatility as it relates to impacting winning is unparalleled. I don’t think it was any coincidence that we broke through on the national level during his time on campus.”

“The last and best thing I can say about Dorian is that he makes everyone around him better,” continued Schertz. “Not just with his stellar play, but with the example he sets with his work ethic, his positive attitude and his willingness to sacrifice and put the team above himself.”

Playing in Germany was not only challenging culturally but also on the court, the team did not do well, a sharp contrast to his time at LMU.

“It was a good experience playing with Lu that season in Germany,” Pinson said. “I got a chance to see the world and I grew as a person, physically and mentally. Every situation is different. At LMU we were accustomed to winning, playing in Germany gave me a different perspective and appreciation for what we had at LMU.”

Following his lone season in Germany, Pinson signed a one-year contract with the River Lions. This season Niagara posted a 15-5 record, finishing first overall in the league standings and earning a spot in playoff action Saturday against the 10-10 Hamilton Honey Badgers. Pinson was a major catalyst for the team, finishing near the top in every statistical category.

Pinson’s best game of the year came Aug. 14 against the Honey Badgers when he scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out six assists and had three steals. He shot a blistering 10-for-13 from the floor in the 104-94 win.

For the season, Pinson is averaging 13 points per game while leading the team in assists (4 APG), rebounds (8 AP) and steals. His smooth 58.9 field-goal percentage is second on the team and he is the squad’s top distance shooter, hitting 41.2 percent of his three-point attempts.

Joining the River Lions suited Pinson’s style and allowed him to display his talents.

“I looked into the style of play and it fit my game,” pointed out Pinson. “My style of play was a good fit in Germany and it translated to North America. Our game here showcases my true potential.”

Aside from the team success, Pinson is feeling good about his experience post LMU.

“Being back in North American is a joyful feeling,” he said. “This team is a real brotherhood and a better experience for me. I am very peaceful here.”

Once Niagara finishes out its season, Pinson will have decisions to make regarding his future.

“My contract ends after the season,” he said. “This was strictly a summer league opportunity for me to showcase my talents. I have a couple of activities and opportunities set up to hopefully get me to the next level. Long term, every player wants to play in the NBA. So far, basketball has given me the opportunity to meet different people and experience different cultures.”

Once the CEBL season concludes, Pinson will focus on the next chapter. He will also be keeping an eye on the upcoming LMU season. He has some good advice for the new Railsplitter players.

“Don’t get winning confused with work ethic,” Pinson said. “Don’t feel entitled. Everything at LMU is earned, not given. I wish everyone at LMU my best.”