(New Orleans, La.) Loyola University New Orleans athletic director and head men’s basketball coach Dr. Michael Giorlando has announced that Derek Graves, Jalen Gray, and Nate Pierre have signed letters of intent to play for the Wolf Pack next year.
Jalen Gray is a 6-4 guard from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He averaged 14.1 points per game as the Crusaders went 28-7 in the 2012-13 season.
Gray earned All-State Honorable Mention honors to go with a place on the All-District team. He also was named to the Clarion Herald Boys Elite Team and was named to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Academic All-State Class 5A team.
“We are very pleased to have Jalen Gray join our basketball program. Jalen is an outstanding, intelligent young man who will give us added depth at the point guard spot. He is fundamentally sound in his game and his defensive skill on the ball will be a big asset for us.”
Nate Pierre is a 6-8 forward from Covington, Louisiana who was a force on the interior for Covington High School as he averaged 10.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. He helped lead the Fighting Lions to a 17-13 record this season.
Pierre also excelled in the classroom as he was named to the LHSAA Academic All-State Class 5A team.
“Nate Pierre is another fine, smart young man who will add depth to our inside game. Nate is a relentless worker on the boards and has a great knack for defending the lane. We are very pleased to have a player of Nate's caliber.”
Derek Graves is a 6-3 shooting guard from Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Graves averaged 10.3 points per game while pulling down five rebounds while playing for head coach Elmo Fernandez. The long distance marksman shot 38.6% from behind the arc and 72% from the free throw line as he led Woodlawn to a 21-10 record. He earned 2nd team All-District 5-5A honors.
Graves also excelled in the classroom as he joined Gray and Pierre on the LHSAA Academic All-State team.
“We are very excited to be getting a player of Derek's caliber. In Derek we are getting an outstanding student athlete that will be a great fit at Loyola. He will help bolster our depth on the perimeter on both sides of the court,” said coach Giorlando.
The three freshmen will be joining a Wolf Pack squad which went 16-14 this past season. Loyola returns 12 of the 13 players from last year’s squad which reached the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.