To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with Toledo SG Rian Pearson about preparing to face the highly-touted Andrew Wiggins.
You are one of four returning starters from last year. How big a factor do you think your team’s experience will be this season? It will be a big factor for us because we are all used to playing with each other so we just need to get the new guys to start clicking with us.
Your non-conference road schedule includes trips to Boston College and Kansas. Which of these two games do you feel will present your biggest test? The Kansas game will be most important because they have the #1 guy in Andrew Wiggins. I grew up in Missouri and will have a lot of my family and friends there for that game. I watched some YouTube footage of Wiggins. He can really drive the ball.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season? The most important thing is to try to win the regular season title and get to the MAC tourney. Hopefully I can even win conference player of the year.
You play for Coach Tod Kowalczyk; What makes him such a good coach and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? I have learned how to channel my emotions on the court because I am such a competitive player. He taught me not to get down on myself.
In the 2010 CBI,as a player at Green Bay, you scored 14 points in a six point, double overtime loss to eventual runner-up St. Louis. Where does that rank among the most exciting games of your career? I remember it well. It was a great game in a great atmosphere. We also played Wisconsin that year, which was exciting.
Following the season you transferred to Toledo. Why did you make the switch and do you have any regrets? I made the switch because Coach was moving to Toledo and I thought it would be the best move for me. I have no regrets.
In November, you scored a career-high 30 points versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Was it just one of those scenarios where every shot you put up seemed to go in because you were “in the zone”? I think it was. I felt good that night and felt that I could not miss. I had a lot of confidence in my shot and my teammates got me the ball.
You did not make the MAC tourney but ended the regular season with two wins to finish 15-13. Even though it must have been disappointing to miss out on postseason play, did you gain any satisfaction from completing the season on a winning note? I was disappointed at the start of the season but seemed to get over it eventually. Hopefully it will pay off this year.
Last season you ranked third in the MAC with 17.9 PPG and your scoring has gone up every single year. What is the key to being a great scorer? Just effort. I think I am a great cutter and I like to score off the ball. When the ball is in your hands the defense will shift towards you, so when I get it I just hurry up and make my play.
Your father, Roderick, played basketball at Central Missouri State and your brother, Roderick Jr. played basketball at Oral Roberts and Southeast Missouri State. Who is the best player in the family and do you credit at least some of your success to genetics? My dad was a pretty good PG, as was my brother, so I learned a lot from both of them. As far as the best player, I would have to give it to me!