Theophilus Alphonso Pinson was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1995. He is the son of Theo and Barbara Pinson. In 2011, Pinson was named to the USA Basketball U16 team, winning gold with future UNC teammate Justin Jackson. He played high school ball at Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, NC. After Pinson's senior year in 2014, he was named a McDonald's All-American and voted Mr. Basketball in North Carolina. He'd then move on to the Tarheels and play there for four seasons before entering the NBA in 2018.