(Montgomery, Ala.) Loyola University New Orleans senior center Nate Pierre (SR/Folsom, La.) has been named the 2016-17 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as announced by the league office on Thursday afternoon.
To be eligible for this prestigious academic award, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore eligibility, have a 3.5 GPA and must have competed in 50% of competitions.
“From day one, Nate Pierre has been as accountable as you could ever hope a student-athlete would be both on the court and in the classroom,” said Loyola head coach Stacy Hollowell. “He is one of the most high-character guys that I’ve ever worked with and I’m very happy that his hard work is being recognized.”
Majoring in Finance, Pierre adds this accolade to his Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and SSAC All-Academic honors that he earned earlier this season.
On the court, the Folsom native played in 30 games for the Wolf Pack this year and led the team in blocks (39) while ranking second in rebounding average (5.4 per game). Manning the middle, Nate averaged 8.5 points per game on 59% shooting from the floor with 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in 2016-17. Pierre’s 1.3 rejections per contest were the third most in the SSAC this season and the 21st best mark in the NAIA.
Nate will leave Loyola ranked third in program history with 152 career blocks and 10th in career rebounds with 449 total boards.
In his final season with the maroon and gold, Pierre helped the Wolf Pack complete one of the most impressive seasons in program history. Backed by the program’s second-best start in history (8-2), Loyola started the 2016-17 campaign ranked No. 22 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll which marked the highest ranking the team has ever received in the modern era (since 2000). Following a 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 there, however, as the Wolf Pack earned a spot in the NAIA DI National Championship in 2017, snapping a 71-year drought for the program which last appeared in the DI tournament back in 1946.