Temple men’s basketball guard honored as AAC most improved

Sophomore Nate Pierre-Louis will share the American Athletic Conference most improved player of the year award, the conference announced Tuesday.

Sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis drives the lane during Temple's 81-63 win against UConn on Feb. 7 at the Liacouras Center. ALEX PATERSON-JONES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Sophomore Nate Pierre-Louis improved in nearly every statistical category this season.

The Temple University men’s basketball guard was named the American Athletic Conference most improved player of the year on Tuesday. Pierre-Louis is averaging more points, rebounds, assists and steals this season then he did last year.

Pierre-Louis will share the award with UConn sophomore forward Josh Carlton. The award was voted on by the conference’s 12 head coaches.

Pierre-Louis finished the regular season the Owls’ third-leading scorer averaging 13.4 points per game, improved from his 7.5 points per game his freshman season. Pierre-Louis also finished second on the team in rebounds averaging 5.7 per game.

The sophomore guard has 61 assists in 31 starts this season compared to last year, where he recorded 15 assists in 27 games.

On the defensive end, Pierre-Louis averaged 1.6 steals per game, which ranks him fifth in The American. Pierre-Louis more than doubled his steals total from last year to 51.

“Winning most improved player is a testament to all my hard work,” Pierre-Louis said. “I have been working my tail off every single day on and off of the court. I worked defensively and offensively. It’s really just a blessing and I’m really truly thankful to win this award.”  

Temple senior guard Shizz Alston Jr to believes Pierre-Louis’s sophomore season was similar to his own when Alston won the Big 5 most improved player award.

“He had a great season as a sophomore,” Alston said. “I see a lot of similarities with us.”

Pierre-Louis attributes some of his improvement to getting more playing opportunities and being more assertive this season, he said. The sophomore guard was one of only three Temple players to start in every game this season compared to just one start last season.

Pierre-Louis ended the regular season sixth in The American with 34.1 minutes per game. During his freshman season, Pierre-Louis averaged 16.9 minutes per game.

“Last year I was not really assertive,” Pierre-Louis said. “I had aggressiveness but not assertiveness, and I was just doing reckless stuff.”

No. 3 seed Temple (28-8, 13-5 The American) will play in the conference tournament quarterfinals on Friday at 9 p.m. against either No. 6 seed Wichita State (17-13, 10-8 The American) or No. 11 seed Eastern Carolina (10-20, 3-15 The American).    

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