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Xavier Pinson enters the transfer portal

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Missouri's second-leading scorer will not return next season. Junior guard Xavier Pinson has officially entered the transfer portal, news that was confirmed by a Mizzou spokesman Tuesday afternoon.

Pinson started all 26 games for the Tigers this season and averaged 13.5 points a game to go with 2.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds. He shot 42.6% from the floor, 33.6% from three-point range and 83.7% from the free throw line.

But in the season-ending loss to Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Pinson played just 18 minutes, including only four in the second half. As Missouri fell behind the Sooners in the closing minutes, Pinson was on the bench in his warmups as Drew Buggs played point guard.

Over three seasons, Pinson played in 88 games for Missouri and started 49 of them. He increased his scoring and assists every season, as well as his minutes played. Pinson had explored the NBA Draft process after his sophomore season, but opted to return to Mizzou. It was widely anticipated all year that this would be his final year in Columbia and quite possibly his final year in college.

Players across the country received a free year of eligibility this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means that Pinson would have two seasons left to play if he chose to transfer to another school.

For Missouri, Pinson's departure is the first to be official, but there will be more. The Tigers have five seniors: Mark Smith, Dru Smith, Mitchell Smith, Jeremiah TIlmon and Buggs. All five would be eligible to return. None have made official announcements or decisions, but it is not anticipated any will return for the extra year.

The Tigers have five freshmen coming in in the 2021 recruiting class. Parker Braun, Javon Pickett, Torrence Watson, Ed Chang and Jordan Wilmore all have eligibility remaining among the current scholarship players.

That means as it stands today, Cuonzo Martin would have two scholarships available to use this spring. It is expected that Missouri will be heavily involved in the transfer portal itself, which will be more active than in any previous year.

PowerMizzou.com has reached out to Pinson for comment, but has not yet heard back. In an Instagram post, he said "Mizzou, words couldn't thank you enough. I'm just a kid from the west side of Chicago, Illinois and the fans we had accepted me with open arms. Happy I can say I spent 3 years at this AWESOME university and I can't wait to see what the future holds."

We will continue to update this story.