Athletic success relies heavily on various factors, but the key is to be very committed in order to improve. Sophomore guard Nijal Pearson exemplifies his commitment to excellence.
Pearson has been playing basketball since a young age. The sport runs deep in his family; his mother and two older brothers played basketball while they were in high school.
Basketball was an inescapable truth for Pearson, the sport being part of the culture he was raised in.
“I’ve been playing ever since I can remember, probably like three or four,” Pearson said. “My mom played basketball in high school, my brothers played, and everyone I knew in my hometown played basketball.”
Pearson played other sports growing up, but it was ultimately basketball that won his heart.
“I made friends through it,” Pearson said. “I was having fun playing and I just fell in love with it and it just stuck.”
The Beaumont native joined the Bobcat family in 2016. His chemistry with the team and coaching staff helped him feel at home in San Marcos.
“I made a good relationship with the players during my time,” Pearson said. “The coaches, I feel they really believed in me, and the city felt just like home. I feel safe and comfortable here.”
Upon his arrival, the sophomore immediately made his presence known, putting together an 18-point, four-rebound and three-steal performance in the first game of his collegiate career against Florida Atlantic.
Pearson played and started in all 36 games of the 2016-17 season and was a Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team selection.
The sophomore earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week and had played a team-high and Texas State single-season record 1,182 minutes during his freshman year.
Taking the game to the next level from what it was a year ago is always on Pearson’s mind. Developing an all-around game and becoming a complete player is his goal.
“I just made my game more well-rounded,” Pearson said. “It’s not just one specific thing I key on, I want to become a better defender, better ball-handler, better shooter, better at rebounding, better at everything. I want to be a complete basketball player.”
When on the court, Pearson believes in following the coaching staff’s system, doing what he needs to do either individually or with teammates.
“I just try to play in the system,” Pearson said. “If I have an opportunity to score, I’ll score, if not, I’d try to make a play for somebody else.”
There’s no doubt that Pearson can score in a game but that is not the sophomore’s goal when on the court. He prefers to go with the flow of the game, doing what he feels the situation calls for.
“I never fall into scoring, being the leading scorer, or scoring a lot of points,” Pearson said. “I like to play in the rhythm of the game.”
During his first year as a Bobcat, Pearson and the 2016-17 team made it all the way to the Sun Belt Conference Championship game where they fell to Troy 59-53.
Despite the heartbreaking loss, the sophomore does not shy away from his goal of making it back to the championship game and winning it in 2018.
“The goal is to win a conference championship,” Pearson said. “That’s the main goal right now.”