By Griffin Schneider
The Beaumont, Texas, native has been nothing short of exceptional since his freshman year in 2016. Since then, Pearson has been a dominant force in the Sun Belt Conference, increasing his points per game average year after year.
Pearson has racked up several Sun Belt accolades including his 2019 All-Sun Belt First Team Selection and the 2018-19 Lou Henson National Player of the Week Award. Pearson’s point total currently ranks No. 12 among active players across all NCAA Division I teams at 2,068 points. Additionally, Pearson has also been a very impressive rebounder throughout his career; he is one of four active NCAA Division I players with 2,000 career points and 700 career rebounds.
Pearson just recently passed NBA Champion and Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning on the all-time college basketball scoring list. With the handful of games left in his collegiate career, Pearson is also on track to pass NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.
“I hope my career lasts as long as theirs did,” Pearson said. “It’s a blessing and an honor,” Pearson said when asked about his current position on the list.
Pearson has likely earned a spot on several NBA team’s scouting radar given his impressive spot on the all-time college basketball scoring list.
There is one NBA player that Pearson’s career has very closely resembled so far; the Dallas Mavericks’ Courtney Lee. Lee played four years of college at Western Kentucky, a mid-major school that was once a part of the Sun Belt Conference. Like Pearson, Lee was a dominant scorer and rebounder, racking up over 2,200 career points and 663 career rebounds. Lee was drafted as the 22nd pick in the first round by the Orlando Magic in 2008 and has been a solid shooting guard in the NBA since.
Pearson has made is very clear that he is going to try and play basketball at the professional level after he graduates from Texas State University. However, he is remaining focused on becoming a Sun Belt Conference champion and earning a spot in the 2020 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.
“Of course, I am going to declare to go play professionally… whether it’s the NBA or overseas,” Pearson said. “I try not to think about the future too much; just take care of the present and whatever happens next, you know, happens.”
With his 6’5”, 200-pound build and impressive scoring and rebounding ability, Pearson has all of the tools needed to be a solid shooting guard in the NBA. If Pearson can end his senior season the same way he started it, he could very well be one of just three Texas State Bobcats to be drafted to the NBA, the last one being Jeff Foster in 1999.
Pearson’s chances of being drafted to the NBA will dramatically increase if he can lead the Bobcats to a Sun Belt Conference Championship and secure a bid into the NCAA Basketball Tournament. If he is successful in doing so, it won’t be long before “Nijal Pearson” becomes a common name in among several NBA front offices.
Featured image courtesy of Nathan Rarangol.