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Blake Hinson Discusses Return to Pitt, What NBA Teams Told Him to Improve



Pitt athletics ranked No. 1 in the ACC and No. 13 in the country, according to CBS Sports

Blake Hinson is back at Pitt for his final season of collegiate eligibility. The second-year Pitt forward is the lone senior on the 2023-24 roster but almost left the college game for the NBA Draft.

Hinson tested the draft waters but ultimately decided to remain a Panther for one apparent reason. 

“The opportunity to go pro wasn’t as good as the opportunity to come back here,” Hinson said. 

Pitt’s leading scorer from a year ago (15.3 points) made 97 threes and shot 28% from behind the arc. Hinson spent time at Ole Miss and Iowa State before finding his game with the Panthers.

“Blake got to go through the NBA stuff,” Head Coach Jeff Capel said. “He got a chance to work out with a couple teams. He had a pro day. He was able to get some feedback, some constructive criticism, and things that I think will help him.”

Hinson sat out the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons and experienced a significant offensive breakthrough with career highs in points, rebounds (6.0), and field-goal percentage (42.8%). Despite the jolt in production, something physical is holding back his game from reaching the professional ranks.

“They just said I need to lose weight,” Hinson said with a smile. “That’s the jist of it.” 

Hinson is listed at 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, five pounds lighter than published on last season’s roster. He said he’s eaten less, worked out more, and is not done losing and/or gaining weight yet in preparation for the season. Honesty and being a straight shooter is something Capel said Hinson takes to heart. 

“Blake’s a guy that’s very honest about who he is,” Capel said. “He wants honesty given to him. It’s one of the things I love about him. It’s the brutal truth. You don’t have to tip-toe around with him. He wants it straight. He was able to hear some things he does well but also some things he needs to work on. He’s tried to adjust those things every day.”

With another season of high-level ACC ball starring him down, Hinson is ready to sharpen his game and lead Pitt past its doubters. He described how one unnamed projection has already slotted the Panthers to close 13th in ACC play. Hinson’s motivated to once again prove doubters wrong and bring some hardware back to the Petersen Events Center before embarking on his professional career.

“It was just overall I need to get better,” Hinson said. That’s what I’m here to do. Get better and lead my team to a championship.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Rob Radich
Rob Radich
2 months ago


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