Jayvaughn Pinkston has wanted to become a McDonald’s All-American since he started playing basketball. That’s now a reality for the Bishop Loughlin senior, who was named to the prestigious all-star game last week.
“When I first heard it, I didn’t believe it, but then when I saw the [letter], I was like wow, I really did it,” Pinkston said. “It’s a big goal for me.”
The 6-foot-6 Villanova-bound forward, The Post’s Preseason Player of the Year, is the first player in Bishop Loughlin history to earn the honor.
“I am elated and extremely proud,” Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez said. “To achieve such an honor is a great accomplishment and a testament to the hard work that he’s done throughout the years.”
Pinkston said it was an emotional moment for both himself and his mother, Kerry.
“She was happy, she was crying,” Pinkston said. “She wanted me to become a McDonald’s [All-American] and I did it for her.”
While Pinkston has been a dominant force inside, he has fine-tuned his perimeter game and has become a more versatile player.
“He can shoot it, he can put it on the floor, he knows the game very well, he’s strong, he can go inside, he can go outside,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what makes him such a great player and such a tough player to defend.”
Gonzalez said Pinkston was upset at the beginning of the year because he was ranked in the lower portion of the top 100 and the Bedford Stuyvesant native has improved himself, while becoming a better leader.
“I preached from the beginning the team concept and he’s bought into it and he understands, which makes my job a lot easier,” Gonzalez said. “When we break huddles, the word that we say is ‘family’ and that was his doing.”
Gonzalez is Pinkston’s third coach in his four years at Loughlin. While so many of his peers have transferred or have gone the prep school route, Pinkston has stayed in Fort Greene with the hope of delivering Bishop Loughlin’s first CHSAA Class AA intersectional title since 1992.
“It was a good experience,” Pinkston said. “I had fun and really just wanted to go out on a bang. I’m just trying to get focused on my school work and trying to win a championship.”
Pinkston will also reunite with former Bishop Loughlin teammate Doron Lamb, who transferred to Oak Hill Academy (Va.) after his sophomore year. The Laurelton, Queens native, the No. 4 shooting guard in the nation according to one recruiting Web site, is being recruited by Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Also selected to the game, which will be played at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on March 31, are Half Hallows Hills West (L.I.) forward Tobias Harris and St. Patrick’s (N.J.) point guard Kyrie Irving.
Harris and Pinkston have had a budding rivalry and are the two frontrunners for Mr. New York Basketball, as well. They went head-to-head in a memorable and contentious meeting on Jan. 18 at Baruch College. Pinkston scored a game-high 34 points, Harris scored 19 points before fouling out in overtime of a game won by Hills West.