David Pearman's Journey from Oakland Mills High to Maryland Terrapins Basketball to Division III Salisbury
David Pearman of Columbia achieved a lifelong dream as a member of the Maryland basketball team, but he gave it up to ride the bus at small-college Salisbury.
David Pearman appears to have a good life as a fourth-year college student at Salisbury University.
He is living off-campus with two high-school friends from Oakland Mills.
His twin brothers are sophomores at Salisbury.
And Pearman is one of the top scorers for the men's basketball team at the small school on the scenic Eastern Shore less than 30 miles from the beach.
But even now, nearly six months after enrolling at Salisbury, the Columbia resident admits that sometimes he second-guesses his decision to leave the University of Maryland, where he was a walk-on with very limited playing time for three seasons under Gary Williams on the basketball team.
"There are pros and cons on both sides," Pearman said.
"I just miss the atmosphere, the big crowds and stuff," he added. "Before my games now, I have to get myself ready to play mentally. At Maryland, it did not take much to get ready because you are playing in front of 15,000 fans every night. I definitely miss the people back there. That is why I try to get back whenever I can."
The attendance was 179 when Salisbury lost at home to Stevenson University on Jan. 31.
Another change is from suburban Columbia to small-town Salisbury.
"It is kind of country life out here. I have never been in a place like this," said Pearman, who was born in Baltimore and was about 5 years old when his family moved to Columbia. "Columbia is not a big city, but it is between two major cities. The slower life is a big change for me."
Pearman is now a senior for Division III Salisbury. Through Feb. 3, he led the team in minutes per game (32.4) and was second in scoring at 13.8 per contest with 4.4 rebounds per game for a team that was 8-12.
Pearman was eligible to play right away and did not have to sit out a season, as per NCAA rules, since he went from a Division I program to a lower-level school.
"It has been a big change, obviously. I went from two minutes a game, if I was even playing, to 30 minutes," Pearman told Columbia Patch. "It has been awhile since I played minutes like that.
"It has definitely been fun so far. It is a tough adjustment. I am not sure how to describe it. The scoring [load] is something that has been coming. We have some guys that can score. I think [that role] is more trying to find a consistent role in the offense and with the whole game plan."
Said Steve Holmes, the head coach at Salisbury: "When you make a decision like that, it is the right one. You can’t change it. You put your heart and soul into it, which I believe he has done. I don’t believe if he would have stayed at Maryland that he would have as many options as he does basketball-wise. I may be wrong about that."
Family connections played a big part in Pearman's decision to enroll in College Park in the first place. And other family ties, most notably his brothers, led him to transfer to Salisbury instead of lower-level Division I schools where he could have seen more playing time than he did at Maryland.
Pearman grew up in Columbia as a big fan of the Maryland Terrapins' basketball team. His father, Donald, has worked at the school for many years and played hoops in college at St. Lawrence University in New York.
For David, that dream of playing for University of Maryland became a reality after he averaged 18.9 points and 9 rebounds a game as a senior at Oakland Mills High School.
While he could have seen more playing time at schools such as Division I Elon or Division III Frostburg State, which recruited him, Pearman decided to walk-on in College Park.
For three seasons, the 6-foot-6 Pearman was a member of the Terps. And even though he saw limited playing time, he got to practice against future pro players and live the life of big-time college athletics with charter trips to road games and nice hotels.
With the increase in minutes in Salisbury, was endurance a problem for him early in the season?
"My endurance is pretty good," Pearman said. "I was in pretty good shape coming into the season. I was and still am in pretty good shape."
The Columbia resident plans to graduate in December with a degree in geography. As for his plans after that:
"Just like any college kid, it is up in the air right now," he said. "If a good possibility with basketball came up, I would try that."
It is not unheard of for a top Division III player to land a job with a pro team in Europe, though the competition will be tough against players with stronger Division I resumes.
Andre Foreman, a former Salisbury standout, has played pro ball in Finland for several years.
Pearman also has a clothing company, HRB Movement, and has dabbled in music.
Pearman said he has stopped by College Park to see some of his former Maryland teammates, such as seniors Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory. But as of Feb. 4 he had not yet seen the Terps in person this season.
His father is an academic advisor in the athletic department at Maryland, and his parents – especially his mother, Christine – have been to Salisbury for several games.
Pearman played in just two games and for a total five minutes as a freshman for Maryland. As a sophomore for the Terps, he came off the bench in nine games for a total of 12 minutes and did not score for the second season in a row. He also saw limited action as a junior.
One of his teammates at Salisbury is junior reserve Lee Righter, a graduate of Atholton High who played against Pearman in high school.
Perhaps the biggest change for Pearman has been off the court. With the Terps he flew on charter flights to away games and stayed in fancy hotels. This year Pearman has endured a five-hour bus ride for a road game at Frostburg State University.
Salisbury, however, has stayed in hotels on some two-game road trips for in-season tournaments.
"They were not lavish or anything," Pearman said, with a laugh, of bunking down at the Comfort Inn.