Former Tigers guard Pinson to transfer to LSU

Missouri’s head athletic trainer Pat Beckmann, left, walks with Xavier Pinson to join the team in a game against LSU on March 6 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Pinson, who entered the transfer portal in the offseason, committed via his Instagram to play for LSU next season.

Joel Lorenzi

While Xavier Pinson will no longer rock black and gold, he will still be a Tiger entering next season.

The junior guard announced Monday that he’ll play for LSU in the fall, per his Instagram.

Pinson was one of the faces of the most successful team Missouri has had in three years. He ranked second in points and assists for MU this season, averaging 13.6 points and 2.9 assists.

His season was highlighted by displays of potential like his 27-point, 71.4% shooting performance against Tennessee on Jan. 23 in Knoxville. But his lows were low, like his 1-for-7 shooting in Missouri’s NCAA Tournament game against Oklahoma that forced coach Cuonzo Martin to sit him late for backup point guard Drew Buggs.

Pinson turned his commitment into a production, carefully telling fans of his “favorite” four schools on his Instagram Live. The list included Nebraska, Auburn, Georgia and Arkansas. A fan chose to create a graphic with the teams’ logos, labeling it as his final four. Despite Pinson reposting it on his Instagram story and writing “favorite,” fans took it and ran with it.

So it came as a shock when less than two weeks later, Pinson’s final decision came down to two schools he’d never previously mentioned: Kansas and LSU. It would either be in a new era against a hated rival or against a conference opponent.

Pinson ultimately chose coach Will Wade and LSU. The team won’t have the same names that led it to the Round of 32 this season like Cam Thomas, Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart. But a clean slate gives Pinson just as much of a chance to prove himself.

The junior is a quick, explosive scoring guard that could highly benefit from a fast-paced offense. LSU’s offense ranked 70th in adjusted tempo and fifth in adjusted efficiency in Division I this season, according to KenPom. Wade should unlock Pinson’s potential as a backcourt threat.

Between Pinson, freshman Eric Gaines and incoming freshman Brandon Murray, LSU can have one of the league’s brightest guard corps.