Catching Up With Ed Pinckney
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania - He did all the dirty work underneath the basket for the Boston Celtics and starred in one the greatest college basketball games ever played.
A blue-collar player, Ed Pinckney played six seasons (1988-94) with the Celtics and had the opportunity to play in the front court with the "Big Three" - Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish.
"Overall it was just a great experience," said Pinckney. "As a young player I was able to learn a lot from how they approached the game on an everyday basis. Those guys welcomed pressure and approached it in a way that made the team feel very calm. They lived to play in big games. For a young player to be able to be around them, it was unbelievable."
Ironically, it was Pinckney, along with Joe Kleine, who was traded from the Sacramento Kings to Boston for current Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.
"Initially I did not want to go (to the Celtics) because there were not going to be a lot of minutes to be had, said Pinckney. They had a fantastic front line. My first day in practice all my fears were quickly alleviated because they were all guys that just wanted to win."
Pinckney is most noted for starring with Villanova in the 1985 NCAA National Championship game when the Wildcats upset the heavily favored Georgetown Hoyas 66-64, which were led by Patrick Ewing.
In the National Championship game many felt Villanova played as perfect of a game as any team could. The Wildcats shot an amazing .713 from the field (22 for 27) and in the second half took only ten shots making nine of them.
Pinckney was named the Tournament MVP for his 16-point, six rebound effort in the win and to date, that National Championship is the only one in Villanova history.
Also, for his efforts, Pinckney's jersey is retired and hangs from the rafters.
"It means a lot to me," said Pinckney of the National Championship. "I'm most noted for playing in that game and really succeeding. I think each and every player has a defining moment and that is mine.
Now, Pinckney returns to the bench with Villanova for the first time since 1985 as an assistant basketball coach.
"I accepted the job last year and it's just been a great experience for me to work with all the players," said Pinckney. "I had a lot of great experiences here and I try to share that every time I get a chance with these guys. Not many of the stories I can relate to them because it's such a different time for student-athletes, but some certainly do apply mostly on the court."
Pinckney got the job when Villanova head coach Jay Wright offered him the position.
"Jay Wright has always had my ear since he accepted the job and had talked to me about coaching many, many times," said Pinckney. "We go back as far his first job here as an assistant. He is really the one that convinced me. I have been learning and picking up some great stuff under some fantastic circumstances."
With his move to Villanova, Pinckney and his wife Rose Marie now reside in King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania and the two of them have four children: Shae (18), Spencer (14), Austin (11) and Andrea (9).
Ironically, his oldest son Shae is currently a freshman forward for the Northeastern Huskies basketball team.
"My oldest son has great memories of me being a Celtic and now attends Northeastern University," said Pinckney. "When we get the chance, my wife and I get up there to see him play."
Pinckney played 12 seasons in the NBA and along with the Celtics played with the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptures, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat before retiring in 1997.
The Celtics were the team Pinckney played the most time with during his 12 seasons and for that reason still follows the organization closely.
"Everybody remembers me for playing for the Celtics when they remember my NBA career," said Pinckney. "I keep a really close eye on the team."