Q&A with all-time scoring leader Nijal Pearson


Senior guard Nijal Pearson scored 23 points against ULM on January 16 to pass Charles Sharp’s (1956-60) record of 1884 career points for the all-time scoring record. Photo by Kate Connors.

Cade Andrews, Sports Reporter

Sports reporter Cade Andrews spoke with senior guard Nijal Pearson on reaching the program’s all-time scoring record, his senior season and his journey to this point in his career.

So walk me through that moment, when did you know that you broke the scoring record?

“I knew going into the game that I needed nine points to break the scoring record. I actually would’ve liked to do it the game before against App State because it was at home, so it would’ve been lit. It would’ve been cool to do it in front of the home stands. I knew when I made the layup that I broke the record. I mean it was in the middle of the game, so it wasn’t at like the time that I let my emotions take over or anything like that. It was kind of like a monkey off my back, you know because I’ve been close so going into the game. All week everybody’s been talking about it, you know. “Nine points, nine points, how are you going to score tonight, how are you going to do this, how are you going to do that,” so I really wanted to make sure to get it over with and then just keep playing basketball and finish the game. After the game—not really even after the game—maybe after the season, I’ll celebrate a little bit more then, but right now we’re trying to win games. I mean it’s exciting, I’m grateful and I’m locked in on the moment here.”

When you broke the record how did you stay focused for the rest of that game?

I’m a winner before I’m a scorer. It would have been bittersweet if we had lost the game, (and) it wouldn’t have meant anything, so I wanted to make sure we won.

You’ve been here all four years, how have you grown and developed in your role as a leader since freshman year?

“It’s been a process. I came in with some qualities my freshman year but I had to grow into it, I had to grow as a person. Playing college sports, it’s a grind every day. You have to come five to six days out of the week, come prepared and focused, bring your best every day to practice, watch film. We put in that extra time, so you’ve got to come in ready to work and ready to get better at all times. That’s something I wouldn’t say was hard to adjust to because I think the element of my game is that I came every day ready to work and I took all the proper steps to keep getting better every day. I didn’t skip any steps, I just kept coming into work and tried to improve on a day-to-day basis and be just the best version of myself I can be every time I step on the court, and with that type of mind set I just continued to get better and continued to grow as a person.”

Throughout your career, who are some people that you’ve really been able to learn from?

“When I first got here, my senior class of course was, Bobby Conley, Ojai Black, Kavin Gilder-Tilbury; they were huge. And I’ve never been the type of person to not take advice from anyone, so I always listened. It could be one of my teammates who doesn’t see a lot of minutes, but they’re still on the bench watching the game, so they may see something I typically don’t see on the court, so at any given time every one of my teammates has been pretty much there to help and see me grow and get better. The coaching staff, they’ve always been there too. It’s been a long process and I’ve had a lot of teammates so a lot of people have played a part in this.

Have any former players reached out to you about the record.

Oh yeah, a lot, I’ve heard from pretty much all of my former teammates. I’ve talked to so many people over the last few days, lots of congratulations and I’m thankful for it. I appreciate everybody who’s reached out to me.

And what does this whole thing mean? I know the university started in 1899 and basketball has been around forever, what does it really mean to be at the top of the all-time scoring list?

It means a lot, the fact that I made a name for myself and I made history, and I’m going to be remembered here for a long time. My hard work is steady paying off, I’m going to keep going, but it’s an accomplishment in itself. It’s hard to put it into words because it says it right there, I mean the top scorer- there’s only one of those at Texas State and for it to be me, that’s up to God.”

What are your plans for after this year?

I’m going to try out professional, but after that, that’s as far as I know, but every day I’m going to try my way into the NBA, keep grinding, keep getting better. I don’t look too much into it, right now I’m busy taking care of the present, you know. If you take care of today, tomorrow will handle itself. I’m big on that, so I’m just trying to take advantage of all my opportunities today instead of looking into the future.

Currently you’re on a four-game win streak, you’ve got things going, you broke the scoring record—how do you plan on keeping this momentum rolling into the next game?

Just keep playing hard, keep winning.

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