LAWRENCEVILLE — Tommy Pereira’s done more interviews in the past week
than he had in his previous two years since arriving on campus at
The junior guard is just fine with that, because it comes with his recent success.
Pereira averaged 15.5 points per game in wins over St. Peter’s and Iona while filling in for the injured Nurideen Lindsey.
“I’ve always been a hard worker here,” Pereira said. “Coach (Kevin)
Baggett has given me my chance and I’m taking full advantage of it.”
Lindsey missed those games with a concussion but has been cleared to
play and is available for Friday night’s contest against Canisius.
Baggett said he was still deciding who would start, but was leaning toward Pereira.
“(Tommy’s) done a really good job,” the coach said. “People label him
as just a shooter but he’s rebounding, playing defense and bringing
energy. He’s being a complete player. To his credit, he deserves all the
accolades that are coming his way.”
Nobody would argue against Pereira getting a third consecutive start.
His teammates know what he brings to the table.
“It’s not surprising,” Lindsey said of Pereira’s success. “We see his
work ethic. He comes to me to get tips on different aspects of the
game. I know how hard he works. I expected it and I think a lot of the
guys on the team expected it. We kind of gave him the confidence to do
Right now, Pereira is playing with what he calls, “bags of confidence.”
“I’ve been given the green light to shoot my shots, to shoot good
shots,” said Pereira, who is from Nottingham, England. “They’re falling
and that’s raising the confidence even more now.”
Maybe the biggest change: he’s no longer hoping his shot goes in.
“At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t shooting the ball very well,
and now, every time I shoot it, I expect it to go in,” said Pereira, who
is 43.5 percent (27 of 62) from beyond the arc. “That’s the confidence I
have in myself. That’s the confidence the coaches have in me.”
Pereira logged 27 and 33 minutes, respectively, in the previous two contests, tripling his career average.
He even confessed to being a bit winded.
“My legs were a bit weary after the last game,” Pereira said, “but it was all worth it because we got the win.”
The Broncs (11-9, 6-2) enter Friday night’s contest on a five-game
winning streak and in the thick of the Metro Atlantic Athletic
Without Pereira, who netted a career-high 17 points against St.
Peter’s and led the team in scoring in both that game and the win over
Iona, Rider might not be in the position it’s in.
“Since he had that breakout game at St. Peter’s, we told him we
weren’t surprised and we knew he was capable of doing this,” Lindsey
So the plan moving forward?
“Keep doing it,” Lindsey said.