Woodland Hills’ Peyton Pinkney commits to Eastern Michigan after virtual tour

Saturday, May 2, 2020 | 7:12 PM

Woodland Hills junior Peyton Pinkney took a tour of Eastern Michigan’s campus last week and never left her home.

That’s the new normal in a pandemic.

EMU women’s basketball coach Fred Castro and his staff provided a virtual tour of the Ypsilanti, Mich., campus for Pinkney to watch online. She liked what she saw and was pleased the school offers a physical therapy major.

So, on Saturday, she committed.

“Me and my mom watched and said, ‘OK, they’ve got this and they’ve got that,” Pinkney said. “We could ask to see the athletic facilities, they would click it and we could see it.”

Out-of-state travel is on hold, but that didn’t slow down Pinkney’s recruiting process. She received an Eastern Michigan scholarship offer Monday, met with the coach online Wednesday and committed Saturday.

Pinkney also listed offers from Duquesne, Robert Morris, St. John’s and Youngstown State. The 6-foot forward averaged 13.7 points and is a strong rebounder for Woodland Hills (20-6), which reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals and the PIAA second round.

She earned second-team all-state honors.

Pinkney said she wanted a college that wasn’t too far from home but also not too close. Ypsilanti, near Detroit, is about a four-hour trip.

Her video-conference conversation with Castro convinced her to commit. He’s entering his fifth season as Eastern Michigan’s coach.

“The main reason was the coach,” Pinkney said. “When I got on the phone with him, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was really comfortable talking to him. When we did our Zoom call, my family and him connected really well.”

In Castro’s four seasons, Eastern Michigan improved from 6-25 in his first year to 16-15 last season. The 40-year-old coach was previously an assistant at Washington when the Huskies reached the Final Four.

“I’m a big personality person,” Pinkney said. “If you have a great personality, I naturally draw to you. He has a great personality.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.


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