By Griffin Schneider
Four years ago, Nijal Pearson was just a kid from Beaumont, Texas who wanted nothing more than to play the game he loves at the next level. Since then, Pearson has become a friend to many, a loving father and arguably the greatest Texas State basketball player of all time.
Pearson arrived as a freshman at Texas State University in 2016 on a full-ride scholarship to play basketball for the Bobcats. It was obvious that Head Coach Danny Kaspar had high expectations for Pearson considering he started and played him in all 36 games.
Pearson immediately exceeded all expectations for his freshman year; he earned a Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team selection and was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the week.
Pearson’s incredible freshman year was not only filled with stellar on-court play, but he also became very close with his new teammates. Pearson said that one teammate that he enjoyed playing with and learned a lot from was senior guard Ojai Black.
“He was a really good teammate and a great person to be around… he really taught me a lot… Ojai was probably one of the funniest dudes in the locker room too,” Pearson said when asked about some of his favorite teammates throughout the years.
Pearson took what he learned from his freshman season and continued to build on it during his sophomore and junior seasons. He became a leader for his team on and off of the court. As a sophomore, Pearson scored a total of 502 points, second-most ever by a sophomore in program history and became the only player in program history to play 1,000-plus minutes in multiple seasons.
During his junior year, Pearson became the program’s leader in games started with 102 and received his first All-Sun Belt First Team selection, making him the first-ever Bobcat to be selected. Pearson also became the third player in program history to have consecutive 500-point seasons.
Believe it or not, he received several other honors and awards this year. It is safe to say that Pearson’s unbelievable skill has brought him a lot of recognition.
We are now on the ladder part of Pearson’s senior season, and it has been everything he could have wished for and more. Pearson has become the all-time leading scorer for Texas State’s basketball program and has been named the Sun Belt Player of the Year.
Pearson currently leads the conference at 19.3 points per game and is sitting at 2,099 total career points.
However, Pearson’s broken records and countless awards may not be the most important thing he remembers about his senior season. Pearson will remember the 2019-20 season as the year he became a father to his beautiful daughter Nova.
Pearson missed the second game of this season for the birth of his daughter. I’d say he had a pretty good excuse.
Nijal Pearson has made it an absolute pleasure to be a Texas State Bobcat basketball fan over these last four years. It is hard to think of another person who has embodied their role as a student-athlete as well as this guy. I don’t think it’ll be long before we see Pearson’s jersey hanging in the rafters of Strahan Arena.
Featured image by Nathan Rarangol.