After promising 6’8 small forward Keanu Pinder decommitted from Nebraska in May 2015, he immediately drew speculation that he would follow fellow Australian Chris Harriman who had accepted an assisting coaching role at New Mexico following his stint with the Cornhuskers. Pinder this week quelled all the rumours this week by announcing his commitment to the Lobos, joining the side for the 2016/17 season.
Pinder who is currently playing his second year at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, was on an official recruiting trip in Albuquerque for the Lobos home game against in-state rivals New Mexico State. It was his second visit to New Mexico and his recruitment can almost certainly be attributed to the influence of Harriman, who was integral in Pinder’s initial commitment to Nebraska.
He is currently posting 8.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, and will join New Mexico with two years of eligibility remaining. At Hutchison Community College, Pinder’s team is currently undefeated and ranked number 1 in the country. During the off-season, Pinder was also represented Australia at the 2015 World University Games (WUG), teaming up with former Lobos star Hugh Greenwood who has since traded hoops for Australian rules football (AFL).
Apart from the WUG, Pinder also represented Australia at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships, a team featuring Utah Jazz star Date Exum. Also on that team were a host of current collegiate stars, including Nick Duncan (Boise State), Jonah Bolden (UCLA) and Saint Mary’s duo Emmett Naar and Dane Pineau.
Pinder is the son of former North Carolina State star and Harlem Gobetrotter Kendal ‘Tiny’ Pinder, who would go on to star in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) after being selected in the 5th round of the 1979 NBA Draft by Atlanta. Kendall senior played with the Sydney Supersonics (now Kings) and the Perth Wildcats, winning back to back championships in 1990 and 1991. In 2013, he was also named in the Perth Wildcats 30th Anniversary All-Star team.