Former Mizzou basketball guard Xavier Pinson commits to LSU

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri guard Xavier Pinson (1) drives to the basket against LSU during a Southeastern Conference game Feb. 11 at Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Former Missouri point guard Xavier Pinson is staying in the Southeastern Conference.

The junior announced his commitment to LSU on Monday via social media. 

Pinson finished as Missouri's second-leading scorer this past season, averaging 13.6 points per game, and was one of three MU players to start all 26 contests.

His departure came less than 72 hours after the Tigers' season ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 72-68 loss to Oklahoma.

Pinson played 18 minutes and was 1-for-7 from the field, including 0 of 3 from 3-point range, scoring only two points. He also recorded five assists and two turnovers.

Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin opted to use Drew Buggs at point guard down the stretch against the Sooners. Pinson didn't play in the final 5:52 of the game.

Pinson's last action as a Tiger was a missed 3-pointer, where he tried to draw a foul on an Oklahoma defender with only a few seconds left on the shot clock.

After the shot missed the rim, Martin quickly signaled for Buggs to replace Pinson on the floor. A few moments later, Pinson sat at the end of the bench with his warm-up T-shirt and mask on.

Pinson's exit from the program marked the first of six Missouri players from this past season to enter the transfer portal. He is the second to officially announce his new destination after Mark Smith's commitment to Kansas State. 

Pinson, a Chicago native, originally announced a "favorite four" of Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia and Nebraska last week.

On late Sunday night, Pinson indicated his final two choices of LSU and Kansas.

The Jayhawks already picked up a transfer commitment from former Drake standout point guard Joseph Yesufu. Kansas also has Columbia native Dajuan Harris, a former four-star prospect at point guard, on its roster. 

Pinson heads to Baton Rouge to play under Will Wade, who is looking for a replacement for star freshman Cam Thomas, a likely NBA lottery pick in this summer's draft. 

Wade has been under investigation by the NCAA for more than two years for various major recruiting violations that include Wade offering money to prospects on an FBI wiretap. The NCAA has not sent LSU a notice of allegations.

“We’ve spent all our time worried about what’s going to happen on the court, what we can do to help our guys move forward,” Wade said after arriving in Indianapolis for this year's NCAA Tournament. “There’s a lot of other people dealing with other things – you know, attorneys and folks from the university and that sort of thing. So we’ve focused on winning and doing what we can do to put our guys in the best position to be successful.”

After several delays due to COVID-19, the NCAA Division I Council is expected to approve immediate eligibility for transfers when the group meets Thursday, according to multiple reports.

That would eliminate a mandatory redshirt year for Pinson because he transferred between SEC schools. 

The Bayou Bengals lost in the second round of this season's NCAA Tournament to Michigan after defeating St. Bonaventure in the first round.

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

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