Union University men’s basketball player Corieon Pearson was named to the National Christian College Athletic Association men’s basketball All-American team.
Pearson, a junior computer science major, was the Bulldogs’ leading scorer this season with 17.9 points per game and helped lead the team to the NCCAA Mideast Region title and a fifth place finish in the NCCAA national tournament.
“It feels good just to be recognized for that,” Pearson said. “It’s a big accomplishment for me.”
“More than anything, it’s an indication of just the level of player that he has developed into,” said men’s basketball head coach David Niven.
“He’s a guy who’s a complete player and those guys are really difficult to find,” Niven said. “Most games he was guarding the other teams best player and leading us in scoring. He led our team in assists and scoring and shot a very high percentage.
“I think he’s got a belief, a self confidence that is uncommon and as much as the tools he has physically, his heart and mental ability have just as much to do with his success this season.”
Pearson himself has a different perspective of why he has had so much success this season.
“My teammates were getting me the ball in the right spot so I could have the opportunities to score,” he said. “The coaches were calling the right plays and having the right schemes.”
Pearson’s teammate, junior forward and Business Administration major Eric Leisey, said players on the team wanted to give him the ball.
“He’s that kind of player,” Leisey said.
Pearson noted that the improvements he wants to make for next season have more to do with the mental aspect of the game than the physical side.
“Other teams are going to be looking out for me and trying to stop me so I’ve got to go harder,” Pearson said.
Leisey added that Pearson needs to maintain his conditioning “because he’s going to be playing a lot of minutes next season and we need him to be as fit as possible.”
Niven said the award has very little to do with coaching and everything to do with Pearson’s play and growth as a player.
“Our job as coaches is to help our guys develop, and he’s gotten better every year — and that has everything to do with him,” Niven said. “He’s a coach-able kid and does the things you ask him to do consistently. He deserves all the credit for getting to this point.”
Pearson said his approach for next season is to remain humble “and just know that I haven’t really accomplished anything. I just need to keep working hard. I can’t stop working hard because I won an award.”
The team had a relatively successful season. Overall, the Bulldogs went 15-16 and 7-13 in the Gulf South Conference.
The Bulldogs defeated Union rivals Shorter University 91-85, Lee University 69-66 and University of West Alabama 80-79.
Pearson was essential in the win over West Alabama. He sank a 3-point shot from the right corner with one second left on the clock to win the game for the Bulldogs.