(Kansas City, Mo.) Wolf Pack men’s basketball senior Nate Pierre (SR/Folsom, La.) has been named a 2016-17 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, as announced by the national office on Monday morning.
Pierre joins 61 other NAIA Division I men’s basketball student-athletes to earn the distinction, which is given to student-athletes that maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and that have achieved a junior academic status.
Arizona Christian, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Menlo (Ca.) and Montana State-Northern led all schools this year with three students-athletes earning the honor.
Majoring in business, Pierre appeared in 30 games for the Wolf Pack in 2016-17, leading the team with 39 blocks while ranking second on the squad with 5.4 rebounds per outing.
A member of Loyola’s team for four years, the Folsom native ends his career third in program history with 152 blocks and 10th all-time in rebounds (449).
Nate earned his third SSAC All-Academic Team honor this season to go along with his first career SSAC Champions of Character accolade.
With Nate manning the paint, the Wolf Pack logged one of its best seasons in history in 2016-17. Loyola started the season at 8-2 overall (second best start ever) en route to earning its highest ranking (No. 22) ever during the modern era. The Wolf Pack rode that momentum for the remainder of the year to finish the season with a 21-8 mark and 14-6 record in league play. Loyola’s 21 victories were the most by a Wolf Pack squad since 1948 and marked just the sixth time ever that a Loyola men’s basketball team reached the 20-win plateau.
Following a convincing 92-79 victory over Faulkner University in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Tournament on March 2, the Wolf Pack collected its 22nd victory of the season to give the 2016-17 squad the second most wins by a Loyola men’s hoops team in history.
The history did not end in the SSAC Tournament, however, as the Wolf Pack turned its attention to the NAIA DI National Championship – a place that Loyola has not been to in over seven decades. Earning the final at-large bid of the tournament, the Wolf Pack snapped its 71-year drought (longest in the tournament field) and would be pitted against No. 2 and top-seeded William Penn University in the opening round. Despite the 100-72 defeat in Kansas City, Loyola showed it could be a player on the national stage and put the country on notice.