Al Pinkins brings experience and knowledge as he begins his sixth season on the Middle Tennessee staff. Pinkins served as a graduate assistant in his first season with the Blue Raiders (2003-04), and he has served as a full-time assistant for the previous five seasons so he has been in place for all but of one of head coach Kermit Davis' six full seasons leading the Blue Raiders.
Pinkins is involved in all aspects of the Blue Raider program including recruiting, player development, scouting and game preparation. He recruits in Mississippi, Georgia and the Panhandle Junior College Conference.
One of the outstanding young, rising coaches in the game, Pinkins has been instrumental in the development of Blue Raider post players. Under Pinkins' tutelage, Desmond Yates earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a sophomore in 2007-08, after not appearing on any preseason all-conference lists. He was among the league's leading scorers with just more than 16 points per game. Yates is on pace to join the Blue Raiders' 1,000-point club as a junior in 2007-08. Pinkins also has helped develop 6-foot-10 center Theryn Hudson into one of the Sun Belt's top big men. Hudson is among Middle Tennessee's all-time leaders for field goal percentage and led the Sun Belt in that category in 2007-08.
Middle Tennessee reached the finals of the Sun Belt Championships before falling to eventual Sweet 16 participant Western Kentucky in 2007-08.
Pinkins also has played a role in shaping Middle Tennessee's recent signing classes. He was part of a Middle Tennessee staff that landed a 2007 signing class rated No. 1 in the Sun Belt and No. 48 nationally by HoopScoop. The class also was rated the 13th-best among mid-majors nationally by Rivals.com.
Davis said prevailing reasons that made Pinkins a perfect fit to the Blue Raider staff were his experience and knowledge of basketball. Pinkins has first-hand knowledge of Davis' philosophy and 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 played on nearly every level of college and professional basketball, and he is sure to bring that wealth of experience to the Blue Raiders. Prior to his collegiate success, Pinkins was a standout high school player at Mitchell-Baker High School in Camilla, Ga. Pinkins helped lead his team to back-to-back state championships in basketball during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, and he also quarterbacked his football team to the 1990 Georgia state championship.
Pinkins got his collegiate start under Davis at Chipola Junior College from 1993 to 1994, 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 (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.
Pinkins received his bachelor's degree from N.C. State in 1998. Pinkins and his wife, Kara, have a 2-year-old, Patton, and they reside in Murfreesboro.