The 6-foot-5 small forward from Wesleyan Christian Academy picked the Tar Heels over Indiana after also seriously considering Louisville, Duke and Georgetown.
"I really knew on Monday, but I had a good feeling on [last] Thursday that I was going to be a Tar Heel," Pinson said. A key member of Wesleyan's state championship team, Pinson averaged 13 points a game as a junior.
With the commitment, Roy Williams has now secured pledges from three top-15 recruits as Pinson joins No. 12 prospect Joel Berry, the nation's No. 3 point guard, and No. 14 recruit Justin Jackson (No. 3 small forward) in the Tar Heels' 2014 class.
His decision came down to Indiana and North Carolina, two programs that share a rich history of tangling for prospects. The last time they went head-to-head, Indiana scored a significant commitment from center Cody Zeller. This time around, the in-state school won the battle and distance played a factor.
"Being the in-state guy, knowing that I'll be playing in front of my peers and knowing my family could come to my games [was important]," Pinson said.
Pinson's father, Theo Sr., noticed a change in his son within the past few weeks. Always close to his family, the junior began showing signs of staying close to home for college.
"At the end, it all came down to him wanting us to be at every game," the father said. "I noticed lately how he really loves his family. I already knew, but he showed me that me and my wife must be doing something pretty good because he's a family guy. At the end, that was probably what did it [for UNC]."
Tom Crean and his staff watched Pinson's last nine high school and AAU games but came up just short of landing the elite wing. And the call to IU was not easy for Pinson.
"It was real tough," Pinson said. "Knowing how hard they recruited me. Just knowing you have to call the other coaches; it was tough."
Pinson cited his relationship with Roy Williams as another key factor in his final choice. The coach committed UNC's scholarship to him last summer.
"My relationship with Roy was good, and we really got along well and he's easy to talk to," Pinson said. "I talked to him more than the assistant coaches."
Despite an earlier pledge from Jackson, another wing, UNC had been searching for multiple backcourt players in the Class of 2014, and Williams had a lot of offers out to players at Pinson's position. Pinson said he thought about the decision and wanted to select a place on his own terms.
In Pinson, North Carolina landed a versatile small forward capable of guarding any perimeter position, creating for himself and others off the dribble to the lineup.