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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential

Senior+forward+Blake+Hinson+%282%29+drives+to+the+basket+during+Saturday+evening%E2%80%99s+game+against+Virginia+Tech+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer
Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) drives to the basket during Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in the Petersen Events Center.

With the NCAA men’s basketball season nearing a close, many senior players are hoping to take that next step into professional play. Draft season is in swing, with NBA mock drafts becoming more and more prevalent, and thoughts of moving overseas are coming to a strong fruition. Pitt men’s basketball has a few professional prospects, but none are more interesting than senior forward Blake Hinson. 

NBA Draft Steal

While none of the NBA mock drafts are consistent, one name in particular is commonly left out and overlooked. That name is none other than Pitt’s leader, Hinson. 

At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds and able to shoot the leather off of the ball, the senior from Deltona, Florida, is a perfect fit on any NBA team and would be a total and utter fleece if picked up. 

While naysayers may have issues with his age, I believe his play supersedes this. He is a top-50 scorer in all of college basketball while averaging five rebounds per game on nearly 50% shooting. 

In his college career, Hinson has grown immensely as a player, a trait that will directly translate to the next level. In his first two seasons at Ole Miss, Hinson averaged barely over nine points. However, after transferring to Pitt, Hinson has raised his scoring average to just under 17 points per game across his two seasons in Oakland. He has even surpassed 1,000 points as a Panther, the only Pitt player in history to accomplish this in two seasons. 

While rocking the blue and gold in the 2022-2023 season, Hinson has obtained many impressive achievements. Hinson became the fourth player since the 1986-87 season to post 25 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in the season opener, broke a school record with nine three-pointers in a game and set an ACC record for most three-pointers over a three-game span. 

Hinson ranks third all-time in program history for three-point field goals made in a season. He was also named the Riley Wallace Award winner, given annually by CollegeInsider.com to the top impact transfer in the NCAA, and was named an All-ACC Second Team selection in 2022. Not to mention, Hinson helped lead his team through three NCAA tournament games against intense competition. 

Overseas Opportunities 

Heading overseas to pursue a passion in the sport is a common — and smart — move for many former college players. Just last year, three former Panthers — Nelly Cummings, Nike Sibande and Jamarius Burton — decided to take their talents to foreign lands. All three hooped alongside Hinson in the 2022-23 season for Pitt.

Hinson would benefit any team overseas with his ability to score the ball and his defensive presence. 

Professional Comparison

Hinson is most comparable to Georges Niang. Drafted in 2016, Niang has been a crucial part of many competitive teams and currently comes off of the bench for the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

While Hinson has more skill handling the ball and is a bit quicker on his feet, Niang possesses the same burly build and defensive body that Hinson brings to a team while serving his role as a reliable knockdown shooter. Hinson is an inch taller and matches Niang’s body weight. Both players excel mostly off of the catch-and-shoot but can occasionally create their own shot when needed. I believe Hinson has the size, as well as skill, to mold a similar successful NBA career to Niang. 

Preparation

To solidify a professional contract, Hinson still needs to work. A successful Pitt team would bolster his case, as he is the main contributor on offense and leader of the squad. An NCAA tournament berth would showcase his abilities against other NBA prospects on the biggest stage, giving scouts a clear view of the type of player and leader Hinson is. 

Working out is important, and maintaining a healthy and pro-ready body is important in the offseason. Lastly, Hinson needs to improve on the defensive side. There is no doubt that he can score the ball, and as one of the best in the NCAA, he has proven this time after time. Most skeptics of his game, however, will point to his defense, specifically on the perimeter. Although this has gotten better, using the remainder of the season to prove himself in this department could be extremely beneficial to his case for a professional career.

About the Contributor
Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer
Aidan Kasner is a first-year student studying Media and Professional Communications.