Al Pinkins, the dean of the assistant basketball coaches, begins his eighth season on the Middle Tennessee staff, coming to MTSU in head coach Kermit Davis' second season. 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 past five seasons.
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 junior colleges throughout the South.
"As a former player of mine, and presently entering his seventh season at Middle Tennessee, Al understands what we expect every day with our program," said head coach Kermit Davis. "Al has developed into a very good floor coach, and works with our front court players."
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. Yates earned 1st team All-Sun Belt honors again last season, increasing his scoring to 17.2 ppg., and joining the Blue Raider 1,000 point club as a junior.
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. Pinkins has also worked with Hudson as he has rehabbed a foot injury that caused him to miss the 2008-09 season.
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 Pinkins is a perfect fit to the Blue Raider staff with 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 this 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 brings 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. He 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 1993-94, 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 1994-97, where he battled injuries to average 9.5 points and seven rebounds per game during his career.
After his collegiate career wound to a close, Pinkins played professionally, starting with Team Baleno in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1998. He averaged 22 points and nine rebounds over the course of the season.
Pinkins also played for the Raleigh (NC) Cougars in the USBL in 1998, (14 ppg, 8 rpg), and for Minot (ND) in the International Basketball Assn, where he earned Most Valuable Player honors (19 ppg, 9 rpg).
Following his IBA stint, Pinkins played overseas for the Qatar Basketball Association in Doha, Qatar. (29 ppg, 11 rpg). He then played in the Chinese Basketball Association in Shenyang (11 ppg 8 rpg).
Pinkins received his bachelor's degree from N.C.State in 1998. Pinkins and his wife, Kara, have two sons, Patton, and Pryce.