MAC Basketball Top 25 - #2 Rian Pearson, Toledo Forward

Pearson finally has some good players by his side at Toledo. Will it be enough for the Rockets to make the big dance? - Toledo Athletics

Toledo's do-everything performer Rian Pearson is the number two player in our countdown. Bet you can't guess who #1 is.


Rian Pearson

#5 / Guard / Toledo Rockets

6-4

190

senior


All basketball rims are eighteen inches in diameter. The square on the backboard is twenty-four inches wide by eighteen inches tall. Backboards are seventy-two inches by forty-two inches. A basketball is thirty inches in circumference and must weigh between twenty and twenty-two ounces.

I'm not sure if Rian Pearson knows these facts about the basketball or the hoop, but oh does he know how to put the sphere of rubber into that seemingly small hole in the middle of the rim.

Pearson has been a gifted scorer his whole life, starting in high school. At Raytown South High School in Raytown, Missouri, Pearson averaged 23 points per game and earned all-state honors. That earned him a scholarship to play at Wisconsin-Green Bay under Tod Kowalcyzk. Pearson didn't get a lot of playing time that year (16.5 minutes per game) but was able to average six points per game. After Kowalcyzk left to be the head coach at Toledo, Pearson and teammate Matt Smith followed suit. Pearson had to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, but he made that next year, his first in a Toledo uniform, one to remember.

No one really knew what to expect out of Pearson that first year in the MAC because he hadn't been a major contributor with the Phoenix. He proved a lot of people wrong, finishing third in the MAC Player of the Year voting and averaging a league-high 16.4 points per game. His athleticism was what most noticed about his style of play, as he was able to score in many different ways as well as put up great rebounding numbers. For a player of his stature to average 8.3 rebounds per game (good enough for third in the league) was certainly an accomplishment.

Fast forward to the 2012-2013 season. You'd think maybe after one year the coaches would start to figure him out and focus their game plans on stopping him. Whatever they tried to do differently, it didn't work. His scoring average went up a point and a half to 17.9 which was third-best in the league. There were only two games where he didn't score in double digits. Two games. The rebounds went down a little as did the field goal percentage, but considering he took one hundred less shots than he did the year before it's a little more understandable. One thing he's never been that great at is hitting threes; he's only hitting them at a 23% clip during his time at Toledo.

Pearson has now had a year to practice being the leader of this team and the young guys will need to lean on him this year. The bench is extremely young, and they'll need that senior leadership that Pearson provides. If there ever was a year for the Rockets to make the NCAA Tournament it's this one, and Pearson will be the guy to lead them there.

There aren't a lot of sure things in life, but you can expect Pearson to get more than ten points in any game he plays in. He certainly knows how to use the most out of the eighteen inches of space the inside of the rim provides him.

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