SAN DIEGO – The late M. Scott Peck wrote the New York Times best-selling book “The Road Less Traveled,” a spiritual self-discipline compass published in 1978 that sold more than five million copies.
USD junior forward Isaiah Pineiro is in the process of penning basketball’s “The Road Less Traveled.”
Sit out one season after high school. Play one season at a junior college. Transfer to a Division I program. Average double figures but not be content with the surroundings. Transfer to USD. Sit out another season.
Then this year, blossom.
Pineiro led USD in scoring (15.4 points) and rebounding (6.1) this season and this week was rewarded for his patience and work ethic, being selected to the All-West Coast Conference’s first team.
“I’m very honored,” said the 6-foot-7 Pineiro. “There’s a lot of good players up there, some real good names.”
Come 1 p.m. Saturday, Pineiro and his teammates open the West Coast Conference Championships against BYU at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. USD is 18-12. BYU is 22-9.
Asked what the player better known as I.P. means to the Toreros, acting head coach Sam Scholl said, “The first thing is an unbelievable example of what hard work is. There is nobody in our program who works harder.”
On Monday, an off day for the Toreros, Scholl spotted Pineiro in the weight room.
“He’s a guy you always see in the gym at 9 in the morning, asking one of us to rebound (while Pineiro launches shots),” said Scholl. “A tremendous work ethic. Therefore, he garners leadership.”
Pineiro attended Placer High in Auburn, California. Despite averaging 20.4 points and 10 rebounds, he didn’t feel he was physically ready to play college basketball.
“I wasn’t as strong as I wanted to be and I felt I wanted to get more athletic,” he said.
Pineiro sat out one season, working out with the Sierra Junior College team, plus honed his body lifting weights and practicing plyometrics. After one season at Sierra JC, he transferred to Portland State, where he averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2015-16.
His stay, though, would last just one season.
“It just wasn’t the right fit,” said Pineiro.
Drawn by the Toreros’ coaching staff, the San Diego location and USD’s academic reputation, he headed south. Sitting out last year’s redshirt season, the second time in four years he missed a year of competitive basketball, was not easy.
“One of the hardest things I’ve done,” said Pineiro. “You just have to practice and lift and not get the reward of playing in games.”
This season has been memorable on and off the court. Pineiro is Puerto Rican and in September, Hurricane Maria struck the island, killing 64 people. While he has never visited Puerto Rico, Pineiro has relatives who live there.
Every game this season Pineiro has slapped white medical tape across his wrists and in black marker written “Pray 4 PR.”
“It’s a reminder to be thankful for what we have here and to pray for them,” Pineiro said.
He wants to one day play for Puerto Rico’s national team.
On Dec. 18, he took his girlfriend of six years, Olivia Holmes, to the beach, dropped to one knee and proposed.
“We’ve been together so long,” he said. “There’s a security knowing we’re committed to each other.”
Pineiro has been called a position-less. He can crash the boards. He can put the ball on the floor and attack. He hits the pull-up jumper. He’s hit 24 three-pointers.
“It’s good to have a guy who can score so many ways, a guy who creates offense in so many ways, a guy who is a matchup nightmare,” said Scholl.
There is no secret to how Pineiro earned All-WCC honors. Work, work and more work.
“With the route I’ve taken, I’ve had to become a hard worker,” Pineiro said. “I enjoy the long workouts. I enjoy lifting on off days. It’s become who I am.”
Baseball: Toreros vs. Aztecs
USD take on cross-town rival SDSU
Men's Basketball: Post Season Run
USD vs. Hartford highlights
Women's Basketball: WCC Championship Game
Toreros end the 2018 season against Gonzaga in the WCC finals.
Women's Basketball: WCC Semifinals
Women's win send them to the championship game
Men's Basketball: WCC Quarterfinals
Toreros close out 2018 season against BYU
Men's Basketball: "Off Day"
Toreros prepare for the WCC quarterfinals against BYU
Women's Basketball: WCC Quarterfinal Highlights
USD defeats BYU in quarterfinal of WCC Tournament
Women's Basketball: Day in the Life with Myah Pace
Freshman guard knows how to prep for a win
Women's Basketball: Vegas Bound
Toreros travel to Vegas for the WCC Tournament
Baseball: Defeating No. 4 Arkansas
Toreros edge out top five team
Men's Basketball: Rock the House
Toreros played No. 6 Gonzaga in a fight to the last minute
Men's Basketball: Day in the Life
Guard Olin Carter III knows the games starts long before tip-off
Rowing, tennis, basketball and baseball, a winning day in the books
Baseball: For the Love of the Game
Baseball celebrates 60 years
Women's Basketball: Women in Sports Day
Julie Foudy spoke to student-athletes and guests for National Women in Sports Day
Men's Basketball: At LMU
Men's basketball on the road
Women's Rowing: Day in the Life
Senior Lizzie Bader shows how three-a-day practices are done
Men's Basketball: Youth Basketball Clinic
Toreros lead clinic in local community
Men's Rowing: Winter Camp 2018
There are plenty perks to being the early bird
60 Years of USD Baseball
Milestones on the road to Omaha
USD Honors Local Military Members
Toreros showed their support and hosted local military members at the men's basketball game
USD Athletes Sing "Santa's Coming to Town"
Toreros show their talent out of uniform
Basketball: City Championship
Toreros play SDSU Thursday night at 8
Football: Week Fourteen
Football preps for second round of playoffs at NDSU
Football: NAU From the Sidelines
Toreros win in first round of playoffs at NAU
Football: Week Thirteen
Football travels to NAU for the first round of the FCS Playoffs
A day to give to Torero Athletics
Football: Week Twelve
Toreros gear up for last game of conference play
Football: Week Eleven
Toreros prep for game day
Torero Timeout with Summer Mason
USD junior women's soccer player takes a timeout during a study break
On Saturday We Dominate
Big wins for both USD Football and USD Volleyball Saturday afternoon
Torero Timeout with Henry Lander
Men's soccer sophomore Henry Lander takes a Timeout between classes
Football: Week Ten
Toreros gear up for home game against Drake
Men's and women's basketball teamed up to host a Halloween event
Football: Week Nine
Big day in the weight room for the Toreros
Seamus McFadden's Legacy
39 years in review by former players and coaches
Alumni, staff and the San Diego community gathered to celebrate Men's Soccer Head Coach Seamus McFadden
Sixth Man Night: The Event
Recap video of the October 12 fundraiser event
Women's Basketball: WCC Hoops Tip-Off
Coach Fisher and Maya Hood attend media day in Las Vegas
Men's Basketball: New Heights
Men's basketball celebrates the third era of the program
Alumni and family gathered together for an eventful Homecoming weekend
Torero Timeout with Kristen Gengenbacher
Take a Timeout with the senior setter at her house in South Mission Beach
Football: Week Seven
Football preps for this Saturday's Homecoming game
Torero Timeout with Jonathan Petersen
USD Football's Petersen strolls through Belmont Park during his bye week
USD Basketball: Practice No. 1
Check out what practice looks like for the Torero ballers
Football: Week Five
Toreros prep for big game against Dayton
Football: FaceTime with Lion's Jamal Agnew
USD Head Coach Dale Lindsey congratulates Torero alum Agnew on his first NFL touchdown
Football: Brian Fogarty PFL Classic
From tailgates to touchdowns, we got it all
Football: Week Four
Hard work follows these Toreros on and off the field
Cross Country: USD Invite
Missed Saturday's race? Don't stress, we have it right here
Football: Week Three
Sights and sounds of USD Football at work
USD Invite: Take a Lap
Men's and women's cross country host the USD Invite: the only home race for the Toreros
Football: Week Two
Football hard at work for their first away game at UC Davis
Three Games - One Day
Ole Weekend was one to remember for USD Athletics
Football: Week One
Toreros preps for their home opener against Western New Mexico
2017 Football Season Preview
Head Coach Dale Lindsey and Senior Ray Clark discuss upcoming season
USD Athletics Highlight Video 2016-17
Don't miss the best highlights from this past year in USD Athletics