Al Pinkins begins his fourth season as a full-time assistant on the Middle Tennessee staff, but he is a familiar face to the program after serving as a graduate assistant for the 2003-04 season, so he's been in place for most of Head Coach Kermit Davis' building process with the Blue Raiders.
Pinkins is in charge of academics, team travel and is involved in recruiting Mississippi and part of Georgia. He also takes on the responsibility of game preparation, scouting and film editing.
Davis said prevailing reasons that made Pinkins a perfect fit to the Blue Raider staff were his experience and knowledge of basketball; however, Pinkins not only has an understanding of Davis' philosophy, but he also knows what is expected of the student-athletes after having played for his current boss at Chipola Junior College. Davis believes the valuable background serves as an advantage.
"I think it helps in recruiting because he can actually tell guys he's played for me, and it also can help during practice, or after practice, when it's tough," Davis said. "Our practices are very demanding and Al can go to them and say, 'Hey, coach was as hard on me as any player he's ever coached', which is the truth."
Pinkins has been instrumental in Middle Tennessee's recruiting efforts the past three years. He was influential in the Blue Raiders landing heralded post player Uriah Hethington, as well as redshirt sophomores Darren Avery and Dino Hair, among others. The 2007 signing class was ranked 48th nationally by HoopScoop, as well as 13th nationally among all mid-majors by Rivals.com.
Pinkins has played on nearly every level of college and professional basketball, and he is sure to bring that wealth of experience to the Blue Raiders. Pinkins got his collegiate start under Davis at Chipola Junior College from 1993-94, where he averaged 17.5 points and eight rebounds per game during his two-year career.
From Chipola, Pinkins moved on to North Carolina State from 1996-97, where he battled injuries to post 9.5 points and seven rebounds during his career.
After his collegiate career wound to a close, Pinkins played professionally with Team Baleno in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1998. He averaged 22 points and nine rebounds over the course of the season. Pinkins also played in the USBL in 1998, averaging 14 points and eight rebounds for the Raleigh (NC) Cougars.
From there, Pinkins played in the International Basketball Association for the 1998-99 campaign. His tenure was solid, garnering team Most Valuable Player honors with the Minot (ND) Magic City Snowbears after posting 19 points and nine rebounds per contest.
Following his IBA stint, Pinkins played overseas for the Qatar Basketball Association in Doha, Qatar. He tallied a whopping 29 points and 11 rebounds in 1999-00. He then played in the Chinese Basketball Association in Shenyang, and averaged 11 points and eight rebounds during the 2000-01 season. After completing his professional playing career, Pinkins began working for Job Readiness Training, Inc., in Raleigh, N.C., where he helped teach job-related skills, as well as life, communication, and social skills, to at-risk youth.
Pinkins received his bachelor's degree from N.C. State in 1998. Pinkins and his wife, Kara, have a 1-year-old son, Patton, and they reside in Murfreesboro.