JayVaughn Pinkston came to Villanova as a McDonald's All-American, so big things were expected of him from day one. Unfortunately, day one was put on hold for a year after Pinkston was suspended from school following an off-campus fight.
Most kids his age would have taken the easy way out and transferred. Instead Pinkston found a job, paid rent, and worked his way back to school the following year. Over the next four years he refined his game from offensive workhorse to a do-it-all defense-first teammate. It's not the career trajectory for most college players, but it exemplifies Pinkston's growth curve as a person. He's come a long way from the 18-year old who made a 5-second mistake. He's a team-first guy with good skills, and while that's hard to measure on paper, he could probably do a job in the NBA if given the chance.
Date of Birth: November 27, 1991 (age 23)
Height: 6’7″ (6'5" without shoes)
Weight: 247 lbs.
Standing Reach: 8’8″
Prior to his senior season, Pinkston's plus-grades were solely on the offensive end. He was typically too quick for larger post players but too powerful for guards that are quick enough to stay with him. He utilizes a vast array of crafty moves and pump fakes to get by his defender, draw contact, and finish at a high clip. He's typically been among the conference leaders in free throw rate and can get defenders in to foul trouble very quickly.
In 2015, Pinkston also changed the narrative on his defense. Simply put, it wasn't there during his younger years. Better conditioning and a revamped attitude that put the team-first made him a defensive stalwart in 2015. Villanova has always relied on interchangeability in their man-to-man defense - and Pinkston was a huge part of that in 2015 both on the perimeter and at the rim. He's versatile enough to defend several positions.
Pinkston's relatively stocky build and lack of height are likely going to be the killshot on his draft chances. In scout's eyes, he's not big enough to play the post (his natural position at Villanova) and he doesn't have the ball skills and/or athleticism to play out on the perimeter, even if he can defend those positions.
Pinkston's best shot would be as a small forward who could step out and make long jumpshots (i.e. like his predecessor Dante Cunningham), but he's got a below-average jumpshot with limited range and would much rather prefer to do his damage inside. That's going to be tough when he's running at 7-footers every night.
Where will Pinkston land?
While JayVaughn has scored several workouts in the weeks leading up to the draft, it's unlikely he'll hear his name called on Thursday night. He doesn't appear on any Top 100 boards from analysts in the industry, usually a tell-tale sign of a player's fate. That's not to say he couldn't sign as a UDFA. And if he is picked up, I'm sure he'd take his shot in the summer league to try and prove himself. More than likely, he'll catch on in Europe and have a nice career there before looking to get in to coaching, something he's talked about doing down the road.