Regardless of the setting, Josh Pierre-Louis has a mantra that drives him on the court.
Whether it’s a state playoff game with Roselle Catholic in North Jersey, or an all-star showcase at Souderton, the Temple recruit wants to be the most dominant player on the court.
In Monday’s Play-by-Play Classic at Souderton, featuring two dozen Division I recruits, and most of the Philadelphia area’s brightest stars, Pierre-Louis took center stage.
“I’m angry and I want to kill everything that’s in front of me," he said.
His most emphatic two points — a 360-degree, alley-oop dunk bounced off the floor — sent the gym into a frenzy. Even a referee couldn’t help but laugh and shake his head.
Coming out of a timeout a few minutes later, one of Pierre-Louis’ opponents got his attention, and gestured down to the court a few times, saying “chill out.”
“I said ‘Chill? I’m not doing that.' I said ‘Hell no, I’m out here to kill and take what’s mine,’” Pierre-Louis said of his response.
Pierre-Louis then disrupted a drive and knocked the ball loose. A few possessions later, he jumped over the opposing bench while trying to save a loose ball.
Finishing with 39 points for Team USA in a 165-153 loss to Isaiah Wong (Bonner-Prendergast) and Team Local, Pierre-Louis impressed because of his athleticism, ball-handling skills, and even his shooting.
But it was his effort level that stood out most in a showcase that some players approached more like a pickup game.
The three-star recruit was playing his first game in the Philadelphia area, and he gave Temple basketball fans more than a few reasons to be excited for what the guard will be able to do once teamed up with his brother, Owls guard Nate Pierre-Louis, under new coach Aaron McKie next season.
“He’s an athletic kid, especially that one bouncy dunk he had,” Wong said. “He’s a special player. He was hitting threes. He’s a great player, inside and outside. ... When they took him out, I was happy. I was like ‘We can actually win this game.’”
The performance was good enough to earn co-MVP honors with Wong, which granted the two stars roster spots in the Iverson Roundball Classic at Souderton, a Wednesday skills competition and Friday all-star game featuring the nation’s best players.
“I feel like this is where I should be; it’s where I belong,” Pierre-Louis said. “I’m in a kill-everybody mode, I’m trying to prove myself to the country."
Pierre-Louis’ second showing in the area went about as well as his first:
After competing in Wednesday night’s three-on-three tournament, Pierre-Louis showed out in the dunk contest, jumping over three people to advance to the final round, and an alley-oop off the floor to end his night.
But Pierre-Louis was eventually beaten by Ohio State recruit DJ Carton, who won with an off-the-back-wall, between-the-legs dunk.
Wong also starred in Wednesday’s showcase, winning the one-on-one tournament, getting one shot away from making the final round of the three-point shooting contest, and pulling off a windmill dunk in the dunk contest.