2011-01-14 / Sports

Hard Working Pearson Elevates His Game

By Elio Velez


Ryan Pearson attempts a threepoint shot at Hofstra University. Photo by William Thomas. Ryan Pearson attempts a threepoint shot at Hofstra University. Photo by William Thomas. Ryan Pearson is currently enjoying his best season playing in a George Mason uniform.

The Rockaway native leads the team in points per game, rebounds and in field goal percentage for the Patriots, who are 11-5 within the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Pearson, who in his junior season has always been a solid player for head coach Jim Larranaga. He has been noted for his numerous moves inside the paint and his ability to finish under the basket.

While the 6-6 forward led the team in rebounding and second in scoring and in steals, Pearson felt he needed to do more to help the team. The 20-year old former Christ the King star felt something was missing in his game and worked hard over the summer to become a better player.

“I didn’t want to be the same player I was last year. Everybody in the league knows how I play. I didn’t want to make myself easy to guard,” Pearson told the Wave.


Ryan Pearson leads George Mason in scoring, rebounding and in field goal percentage. Photo by William Thomas. Ryan Pearson leads George Mason in scoring, rebounding and in field goal percentage. Photo by William Thomas. “I wanted to become more versatile and harder to guard. I went into the gym and worked on different things such as ball handling and turn around jumpshots. I wanted to work on my perimeter game but not lose my touch inside the basket.”

Larranaga, along with the coaching staff, told Pearson that if he improved, the Patriots would have a better chance to compete in a tough conference against such foes as Hofstra and Virginia Commonwealth.

The hard work has paid off recently as Pearson posted his best performance of the season on January 12. In an 86-60 George Mason victory over North-eastern, the 6-6 junior scored a career high 24 points, and completed 10 out of 14 shots from the field.

Pearson acknowledged he is stepping up more as a leader. The Rock-away native had to be more of vocal presence to the younger players with him and with second leading scorer Cam Long the only starters to return last year.

Pearson is enjoying his time away from home at George Mason, a campus of 30,000 students located in Fairfax County, Virginia. 2010 was an eventful year for Pearson on and off the floor when he became a father for the first time to a baby girl. He also traveled for the first time out of the country last summer with his George Mason team for a series of exhibition games held throughout Italy.

While he would love the opportunity to play in the professional ranks in the NBA, or possibly overseas someday, the Rockaway native is keeping a realistic prospective.

He is setting his sights now on creating a winning gameplan off the court to prepare him for the next stage of his postcollege life.

“I’m a junior now but its also about setting goals for what I want to do after college. I’m trying to stay focused and get a degree and whenever life puts me,” Pearson said.

“You always want to go pro but you got to be realistic. If I’m fortunate and if it happens, God bless, but I’m ready for whatever God plans for me.”

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