Miller Grove’s Keith Pinckney signs with Tulane

Miller Grove point guard Keith Pinckney (center) sits between his parents, Keith Pinckney Sr. and Gina Dalton, before his signing ceremony.

Miller Grove High School boys’ basketball program got its first signee of the 2014 season as Keith Pinckney signed his letter of intent to Tulane University.

The 6-foot senior point guard tweeted his commitment to Tulane Nov. 3 and made it official Nov. 19 when he signed with the Louisiana school. He chose Tulane over Xavier, Western Kentucky, Lehigh University, Miami, Minnesota and other schools.

Pinckney said there were a few factors that played a part in his decision to sign with Tulane.

“I just had a great relationship with the coaches and I felt like I would be able to excel the best as a basketball player there,” he said. Adding that the school’s move into new conference in the American Athletic Conference was a big factor.

Pinckney was a key component in the Wolverines’ run to a fifth consecutive state championship last season. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.8 steals during his junior season. He is rated by ESPN and Hoopseen as the top point guard in Georgia.

“Keith will be a great addition to our team, especially our guard core, and will be a big asset when Tulane makes the move to the American Athletic Conference in 2014,” Tulane head coach Ed Conroy said. “Keith’s a leader, a winner and an exceptional young man with qualities that will be represent Tulane University and our program well.”

Pinckney said one of the aspects he will add to Tulane’s program is his leadership.

“They’ll be getting a point guard that can handle the basketball, run a team and score when I need to and put the team in a position to win,” he said.

Pinckney started playing basketball at the age of 5 after watching NBA games on television.

“I use to watch guys like Allen Iverson, Kobe [Bryant] and Shaq [O’Neal] with the Lakers,” he said. “So that kind of motivated me to play basketball.”

Because Pinckney is not as tall as most basketball players, his mother, Gina Dalton, said he worked really hard to get to better at the sport.

“When he was younger I would do a bed check at night and when I checked on him he wasn’t in bed,” she said. “He would be in the basement or outside practicing. He is a very hard worker.”

Pinckney came to Miller Grove last season after spending his first two years of high school at Palmetto Prep in South Carolina. Miller Grove head coach Sharman White said the program could not have been happier to have Pinckney.

“Keith has been a phenomenal player and an even more phenomenal person,” White said. “He does it the right way and he goes out and gives everything he has, not only on the court but off the court.”

Pinckney said being a part of the Miller Grove basketball program has helped him grow as a player and as a man.

“I’ve gotten a lot better overall in every facet of my game,” he said. “I’ve grown so much and got a lot tougher and stronger.”

He said he is looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life at Tulane.

“I definitely have a lot to prove as a basketball player,” he said. “Just showing the world that I’m the best and I will be the best.”

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