Like many freshmen, Temple guard Nate Pierre-Louis had much different perspective of the college landscape before joining it.
“I thought I would come in and — I am not going to lie — start right away,” he said. “That is what everybody thinks as a freshman, you will come in and make an immediate impact, but college basketball has a weird way of humbling you and it helps you in the long run.”
The 6-foot-4 Pierre Louis didn’t see a minute of action in Temple’s first four games. A standout at North Jersey’s Roselle Catholic, he made his college debut somewhat near home at Madison Square Garden when Temple beat South Carolina, 76-60, on Nov. 30.
Pierre-Louis had three points and three rebounds in seven minutes and demonstrated his trademark energy.
Over the next seven games, he played minimally, including two in which he saw no action, but beginning with an 85-75 loss to Tulane on Dec. 28, Pierre-Louis became a fixture in the rotation.
He is averaging 8.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and nearly a steal a game.
What’s more, he has brought boundless energy whenever he enters a game and is among Temple’s top defensive players.
“What strikes you right away is that this guy has great energy and enthusiasm for the game,” said Temple coach Fran Dunphy, whose team is 16-12, 8-8 in the American Athletic Conference. “I think that is refreshing.”
Pierre-Louis admits that it wasn’t easy to stay confident when he was riding the pine. He leaned heavily on his older teammates, many of whom had the same experience.
A few questions with Temple freshman G Nate Pierre-Louis, who didn’t see much early time but is now a key rotation player. pic.twitter.com/RVrmZWKGou
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) February 26, 2018
Junior guard Shizz Alston Jr., who saw early playing time as a freshman that dwindled by the end of the year, has been an especially strong voice for Pierre-Louis.
“He told me he went through it and as a freshman: He was playing and it stopped,” Pierre-Louis said. “He told me to keep my head up and keep working.”
Pierre-Louis has also built a bond with redshirt senior point guard Josh Brown, a fellow North Jersey product from since closed basketball power St. Anthony in Jersey City.
“Nate is a great kid,” Brown said. “He works so hard and that is what makes him so good.”
Brown feels the best is yet to come with Pierre-Louis. “He has a bright future, as everybody knows,” Brown said. “He is going to be a special talent.”
Most of all, when given the chance to play extended minutes, Pierre-Louis took advantage of the opportunity.
“A lot of guys don’t get their chance right away and he showed he belongs and could compete at this level,” Dunphy said. “It is refreshing and I am grateful to have young guys like NPL in our program.”