Dink Pate is a rising sophomore at Prolific Prep (CA), originally from West Dallas, Texas. A tall, lanky guard with a confident demeanor, Pate should see plenty of success if he continues on his current path. After a great showing at Wootten’s Top-150 Camp, Pro Insight spoke with Pate. His offers list is already in the double digits, and includes Arizona, LSU, Houston, Ole Miss, and TCU.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Pate discussed his background, transferring to Prolific Prep, his recruitment, who’s influenced him, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Dink Pate, from West Dallas, Texas:
Pro Insight: Can you talk a bit about your background?
Dink Pate: Playing basketball when I was little, I never thought I would take it this far. I was just playing to play. Playing rec leagues and all that. I didn’t know the potential that I had. Off the court, my mom has been with me my whole life through thick and thin and any rough patches. My dad and my stepdad, Joey Moss, he has played a good role in being another father figure in my life. I have an older brother who is a team manager at Lamar University and two little sisters and a little brother. I took an unofficial visit to Lamar yesterday, and it was cool to see my brother.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
DP: Not really. My dad is 6’5” and my mom is 5’11”, though.
PI: Describe the basketball culture out here in Texas and what West Dallas means to you.
DP: West Dallas is my home. I feel at home there. Cedric Griffin was my first high school coach. We went to the third round of the playoffs last year, and Pinkston hadn’t been past the first round in 10 or so years. As a freshman, to do that, it feels great. Hopefully it’s something they can remember me by now that I’m gone. I’ll always love Pinkston and the whole coaching staff. They are always cheering me on and still treat me as one of their own. Most coaches would probably be upset that I left, but Griff, he said he knows it was best for me. I didn’t expect for him to be mad, but I know he has my back. We talk every day. He calls me every day. We’re still loyal to each other. Me and Griff play a lot. My eighth grade coach, Simeon, we play a lot too. We were working great together. I was going to stay all four years, but I decided that going to Prolific Prep would be best for me.
PI: What went into your decision to attend Prolific Prep this year and what was that process like?
DP: Jalen Green went there, and where he’s at is where I’m trying to go. I want to play professional ball. They play a national schedule, but the people there also treat you as one of their own. They’re all cool, especially Coach McKnight. It’s intense there. I want to prove that I can make an impact there. Practice has been good. You’re going to get dunked on. I’ll just admit it, M.J. Rice dunked on me. I’m not supposed to let him have that. Me and Zion Sensley are the youngest guys there. There’s way more competition. The guys I’m playing with, they’re good and there’s a lot of intensity.
PI: Who were some local players you have looked up to growing up?
DP: Marcus Garrett. He was my high school idol. I went to all his games at Skyline. I was kind of the mascot, too. The way he played, it was one of the reasons I wanted to take basketball seriously. My older brother went there, too.
PI: Describe your game — what are your greatest strengths?
DP: I’m 6’6” and I’m a guard. I can guard all positions. I can get the ball and push it down the court. I can shoot it.
PI: What about some improvement areas?
DP: I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on. I’m in the gym working on them every day. I can’t tell you what they are though, I’ve just got to keep working on them.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
DP: My ball handling skills. People think that just because I’m tall, I should be a 4 or a 5, but I’m a guard. Just like Marcus was back in high school. That’s one of the players I looked up to.
PI: How much has your game grown over the past year? Talk a bit about your development.
DP: I played up in AAU. That was way more competition. I played up with Urban DFW Elite (TX). At first, I was a little shaky, but they made me feel at home, and I was able to play my game. They told me to push the ball and play the one, even while I was playing with guys that are in college now.
PI: What were you able to show coaches and evaluators with Urban DFW Elite?
DP: Effort. If I miss a shot, I’ll go get it. I don’t ever plan to give up. I’ll sprint back on defense, try to get rebounds and I’m full sprint. I’m giving 110% at all times on the court.
PI: What are your short and long term goals on and off the court?
DP: I plan to be the best version of me. I’m trying to be an elite player and get to the next level. I want to get to the NBA. That was my dream since I was eight years old.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
DP: I used to play football. I was alright. I played wide receiver and free safety. I was getting interceptions left and right.
PI: Do you feel any internal or external pressure to succeed now that you’re getting big offers and at a national school?
DP: Not really. I don’t feel that weight on my shoulders. I know I can do it. I can hoop. Whoever I play against I feel like I can match up. At first, there was a little pressure when I first got there. Now, I’ve been there for a little bit and am more comfortable. The pressure is off me now.
PI: What did you take away from your recent Lamar and Houston unofficial visits?
DP: They were great. They have extremely nice facilities and it’s great that my brother is at Lamar. Houston’s facilities were extremely nice. Coach Sampson was telling me that he was in Birmingham watching and said that I was the best player there. That felt really good to hear. (Note: Dink has since visited TCU unofficially, as well)
PI: Run through your offers so far.
DP: SMU, Troy, UTA, TCU, LSU, Texas A&M, New Mexico State, Houston, Arizona, Lamar, Washington State (Note: Dink has since been offered by Ole Miss, as well)
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in your school of choice?
DP: A coach that knows my game and how I play. A coach that will let me control the game at the one. That’s what I do when I play. I can slow the game down and play at our team’s pace.
PI: What type of system do you feel best fits your playing style?
DP: My main goal is to push the ball down the court and be a guard. My coaches told me to do that and I’ve been rocking that ever since.
PI: Who are some players you like to model your game after?
DP: Kevin Durant and Emoni Bates. They are tall and they can shoot the ball. They are hard to guard. Everyone can jump and dunk on people. If you have that jump shot, that one special talent, that’s how the game is played this generation.
PI: Who are the biggest influences in your life?
DP: Tupac. His music inspires me to go hard. He’s a gangster rapper. My gangster is on the court. I bring that out on the court. In third grade, I played his music, and then when the movie came out I had more love for his music and his personality. I love west coast rap. I have an old soul. Everyone on the team hates it. Everyone on my team is listening to NBA Youngboy but I’d rather listen to Tupac, Ice Cube, and Nas.
PI: How has Joey, your stepfather, influenced you?
DP: When I used to go to camps, I was too shy to talk to coaches. With him being a football coach and having put over 100 kids in college, he knows how to talk to coaches. He showed me how to speak to coaches and be polite - yes sir and no sir - and I took it from there. He’s helped me be able to talk to anybody. I feel more comfortable doing an interview like this now. In eighth grade, I could not do this.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Why did it stick with you?
DP: Real eyes realize real lies. Don’t read into everything people say. Everybody says things but I need to know what’s real and what’s not.
PI: What motivates you to push yourself?
DP: Other players. I’ve watched Arterio Morris play a ton and then getting to play against him a ton last summer, and I scored a bucket on him, it felt good. Anthony Black is also really good. He’s underrated. He’s good.
PI: Describe yourself in just a handful of words.
DP: Determined. I’m determined in anything I do, big or small. I’m competitive in anything. If we lose, I’m running it right back. M.J. Rice and I play one-on-one every day. He’ll beat me, I’ll beat him. He talks a lot of noise but we get right back to it. I love M.J. When I first got there he put his arm around my shoulder and said, “I got you. We’re going to get better this year.” I look up to him as a big bro.
PI: What are some of your favorite things to do off the court?
DP: Listen to Tupac. I like helping people. I’m a helper in general. My hobbies are listening to music and playing basketball outside.
PI: Who are your top-five music artists?
DP: Tupac. Ice Cube. DMX. Nipsey Hussle. Rakim.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
DP: #IAMTHESHOOTER. It gives me confidence.
PI: At the end of the day what do you hope to be remembered for on and off the court?
DP: Being the best player on the court and being the best player I can be. And being a nice, kind, and helping person off the court.