George Mason University

News at Mason

On Eve of Championship, Ryan Pearson Named CAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year

March 2, 2012

Courtesy of George Mason Athletics

Ryan Pearson accepts his award. Photo courtesy of George Mason Athletics

Mason senior forward Ryan Pearson was recognized on March 1 with the Colonial Athletic Association’s (CAA) top individual honor, CAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. The honor was announced at the pre-championship banquet on the eve of the 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Championship. The vote was conducted by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and media.

Pearson is just the fourth Mason player to win the award in the 30-year history of the conference, joining Carlos Yates (1983), Kenny Sanders (1988), and three-time winner George Evans, who captured the honor in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The award dates back to the CAA’s beginnings when it was known as as the ECAC South. Additionally, it is the first conference player of the year award under the tenure of Mason’s first-year head coach Paul Hewitt in his 15 seasons as a head mentor.

Helping guide the Patriots to a 23-win season and a third-place conference finish, Pearson led the team and ranked third in the CAA, scoring 17.8 points per game. The Far Rockaway, N.Y., native also ranks fifth in the conference in rebounding, leading the Patriots with 8.5 rebounds per contest. He has posted 12 double-doubles on the year, ranking 30th in NCAA Division I. Pearson also ranks seventh in the conference in field goal percentage, connecting on 50.5 percent of his attempts from the field.

Earlier this season, Pearson became just the fourth player in program history and the only active CAA player to amass more than 1,500 points, 750 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals in his four-year career. Starting every game this season, he has scored in double-digits in all but four contests, including 11 games with 20 or more points. His 552 points this year rank as the 12th-best single-season performance in school history, and he sits fifth in career scoring at 1,616 points, as well as ninth in career rebounds (799).

Pearson was joined on the All-CAA first team by Old Dominion’s Kent Bazemore, Bradford Burgess of VCU, Drexel’s Frantz Massenat and UNCW’s Keith Rendleman. Pearson received 28 of the 48 possible votes for Player of the Year, twice that of the nearest competitor. Drexel picked up two individual awards, in Coach of the Year Bruiser Flint and Rookie of the Year Damion Lee. Bazemore won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight year.

With a first-round bye, Pearson and the Patriots will begin their quest for a fifth CAA title on Saturday night, taking on the winner of the No. 6 Georgia State/No. 11 Hofstra game at 8:30 p.m. at Richmond Coliseum. The game will be televised live on The Comcast Network and broadcast in the Washington, D.C. area on CSN+.