Photo courtesy of Under Armour Basketball.
By David Cordova
When it comes to basketball players in the state in New Jersey, the one thing you notice is that they’re well-coached. Another thing that you notice is that they work hard on their game. One person that embodies that is Nate Pierre-Louis.
The 6-4 senior guard from national powerhouse Roselle Catholic may not be one of those highly-ranked players, but he always finds a way to outwork those around him. “I want to be the greatest basketball player ever,”says Pierre-Louis, “That’s why I play.”
The Plainfield, New Jersey native got his first introduction to the game of basketball by his father, Frantz Pierre-Louis, who played college basketball at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York and also spent time in the NBA with the Boston Celtics.
The younger Pierre-Louis credits his father for his basketball development. “My dad put the ball in my hand when I was two years old. He’s my idol. The reason why I’m good. The sacrifices he’s made for me is a blessing. The reason why I wear No. 15. He was No. 51 in the NBA, so you can say he has a huge impact.”
On being from Plainfield, Pierre-Louis says, “Plainfield is full of talent. It’s a lot of talent in the Queen City. It gets overlooked all the time. I love my city.”
Years ago, New York was seen as a more dominant force as far as basketball. Nowadays, New Jersey has taken over on the basketball scene nationally. On this year’s USA Today poll, three elite teams from the Garden State (The Patrick School, St. Benedict’s Prep and Hudson Catholic) were ranked in the Top 25 preseason rankings. “I feel like basketball in the state of New Jersey is top three in the country,” Pierre-Louis says on the emergence of New Jersey in the national basketball landscape. “It’s so hard because there’s so much talent in a condense space. You have New York right there. The competition is second to none.”
Pierre-Louis started off his high school career at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, NJ as a freshman and averaged 11 points in twenty-nine games and an appearance in the Hudson County championship game. But when head coach Todd Decker left St. Peter’s Prep left in after the season, it was time for Pierre-Louis to make his next move.
That move in question, was a transfer to St. Benedict’s Prep for his sophomore year. That year, Pierre-Louis, top-five recruit Trevon Duval, DePaul University sophomore Eli Cain and George Washington freshman Arnaldo Toro helped lead the Gray Bees to a 31-6 record and a National Christian Schools Athletic Association championship. On his time at the Newark school, Pierre-Louis added: “At the time it was great. It was the best year of my life. Me & Tre could have been the best backcourt in the country, but everyone chose to go their separate ways.”
One of the best moments of that season was against Roselle Catholic, when they played at the Prudential Center as part of the Newark National Invitational. Although the Gray Bees lost a 26-point game to the Lions, Pierre-Louis stole the show with 20 points an emphatic one-handed dunk. His recollection of that game: “Playing against Isaiah Briscoe (Kentucky’s sophomore guard) was awesome. I wish we had won that game. I really wanted to win that game. But I learned a lot from that experience. When I went up to dunk, the only thing on my mind was just breaking the rim.”
During the summers, Pierre-Louis also held his own on the Under Armour Association circuit with SportsU. During the summer of 2016, Pierre-Louis averaged 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 12 games, and was also invited to the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The first year was pretty hard. I was playing up and the physicality was hard to adjust and I was hurt pretty much the entire summer,” Pierre-Louis says about his experience on the Under Armour circuit. “This past summer, I felt like I proved myself to be one of the best scorers on the circuit.”
On his experience with SportsU, which has produced countless college players and four NBA players, such as DeAndre Bembry (Atlanta Hawks), Wade Baldwin (Memphis Grizzlies) and 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year, Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves: “Sports U means everything to me. It’s a family. Coach Brian [Coleman] is like my uncle. I’ve been with them since I was 11 years old. That program will always have a special place in my heart.”
For his junior year, Pierre-Louis was on the move once again, as he transferred to Roselle Catholic. One of the reasons that he liked his new destination, was because St. Peter’s Prep and St. Benedict’s Prep were both all-boys schools and Roselle was a co-ed institution, “I felt like a normal kid again.” says Pierre-Louis.
As a junior, he averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, four assists and three steals per game for the Lions, who went 22-8 and went all the way to the North Jersey Non-Public B title game, where they lost to another national powerhouse, St. Anthony. When asked about his junior year, Pierre-Louis said, “I had a good year. But I feel that it wasn’t good enough.”
As for his collegiate choice, he made that decision on September 11th, when he committed to Temple University to play for head coach Fran Dunphy. “I liked Temple, I considered it the perfect fit for me.”
Now that he’s made his decision to go to Temple in the summer of 2017, his goals for his upcoming senior season are: “To win everything, Tournament of Champions, state championship, Union County championship, finish top 5 in the nation and win Gatorade Player of the Year Award for New Jersey.”
As he continues to get better and mature in his game, there is no doubt that Nate Pierre-Louis will be a player that makes an impact, no matter where he goes in his future. When asked what’s next, he says, “You’ll see.”
Highlights of Nate Pierre-Louis:
Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.
Courtesy of Rivals.com.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.