Tag Archives: Theo Pinson

Pinson earns a seat at the press conference

PHILADELPHIA — After giving North Carolina six points and a whole lot of hustle off the bench in the team’s 88-74 East Regional Final against Notre Dame, Theo Pinson finally earned a spot at the press conference — nametag and all.

Saturday afternoon, Pinson crashed the starting five’s press conference, earning his place in the viral newscycle as he strode across the stage asking where his chair and nametag were placed.

Sunday night, UNC’s larger-than-life sophomore was all smiles as he was invited to walk across the dais to his seat next to coach Roy Williams.

Before he sat down, he held his phone up high, nearly touching the lights positioned to shine on the foursome and took a selfie.

Once he sat down, Pinson wasn’t done documenting the occasion quite yet, pausing to take a couple selfies with Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson.

Coach Roy Williams even joined in with the jokester, switching his and Pinson’s name plates while Pinson nearly took a sip of his coach’s water and then snapped a photo of his coach making his opening statement.

“We invited Theo because we knew he was going to invite himself,” Williams said. “So we might as well make it legit and let him come.”

It took a couple minutes for a question to be directed Pinson’s way, but once Brett Friedlander of the Wilmington Star News shot one his way, Pinson grabbed the microphone with both hands and was ready to roll.

Pinson, who played 23 minutes in Sunday’s win, answered a couple questions, but his enthusiasm dwindled as the conference went on and the questions continued to come.

The Greensboro native said he’d be ok if he wasn’t invited to another press conference — he’d just crash it again.

When his time was finally up, Pinson grabbed his paper nameplate from Williams, promising to hang it on his dorm room door.

Even without an invitation, Pinson still the life of the party

PHILADELPHIA — Theo Pinson, arguably the life of No. 1 seed North Carolina’s party, wasn’t invited to Saturday afternoon’s press conference festivities.

But just because there wasn’t a place at the dais for Pinson didn’t mean he was going to miss out on all the fun.

Bored in the locker room while UNC’s starting five fielded questions about Sunday’s matchup with Notre Dame (8:49 p.m., TBS) alongside their coach from the podium, Pinson decided to do something coach Roy Williams said he hasn’t seen in 28 years of coaching.

Casually jogging up the steps to the stage, Pinson crashed the press conference, interrupting teammate Justin Jackson.

“Where my chair at,” Pinson deadpanned. “Where my name at, though?”

He loitered on the stage for a minute, looking for a place to squeeze in before jogging back to the locker room.

“There was no space for me to sit down,” Pinson said. “I was going to sit next to Coach but that probably would’ve been bad on his knees.”

His teammates cracked up, Brice Johnson burying his head in his hand, shoulders shaking with laughter.

“Theo said in the locker room that he’d do it, I just didn’t actually think he’d do it,” Johnson said later. “I thought somebody would tackle him before he got up there, but they didn’t. That’s just who we are.

“We’re a bunch of kids. We like to have a lot of fun but when it’s time for us to play, we know how to turn it on and get ready to play.”

While Pinson’s surprise cameo took the crowd of reporters by surprise, Williams was unfazed.

“You guys don’t have to put up with him,” Williams said, laughing. “I have to put up with him every dadgum day. You’re doing a nice job, Theo. I appreciate you. Like I told you, I never have to congratulate him. He congratulates himself. I’ve been coaching 28 years I’ve never had one friggin’ player walk up in the middle of a damn press conference.

“That’s the guy who mimicked Coach Larry Fedora last night in the locker room. You guys want to see something funny, you ought to see that.”

Saturday’s actions were hardly out of character for the sophomore swingman. He and the rest of the Tar Heels know how to have a good time amidst the pressure cooker of the NCAA Tournament. It’s made them media darlings, breaking through to show personality in a time when most teams stick to the same well-worn, politically correct script.

After the senior night win against Syracuse, Williams told the crowd this was one of his favorite teams. In the midst of questions about NCAA sanctions and academic scandal, some levity from this year’s Tar Heels is all the more necessary to keep them going in this year’s tournament.

“I think this team is always comfortable with ourselves,” junior Kennedy Meeks said. “I don’t think we’ll ever change for anyone. I think we’re the same way, how we are in the locker room, outside the locker room. Just to show how Theo, his sense of humor is out of this world. That’s our identity. That’s how we’re always going to be. Whether we lose or anything.”

So, did Pinson’s actions earn him spot at the next press conference?

“They might have one chair open for me,” he said. “Maybe a name tag, too.”