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New UNLV recruit Josh Pierre-Louis wants to bring grit to Las Vegas

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L.E. Baskow

Head coach Marvin Menzies counsels his players during the UNLV basketball team’s first practice at the Mendenhall Center on Saturday, September 30, 2017. .

Josh Pierre-Louis was only in Las Vegas for 48 hours, but that was plenty of time for him to make up his mind about which college he wants to attend.

The Class of 2019 guard committed to UNLV on Sunday, capping off an official visit that Pierre-Louis said made him fall in love with the program.

“I made up my mind that I wanted to commit while I was on the trip,” Pierre-Louis said from his home in New Jersey on Tuesday. “The family-oriented environment was ridiculous. From the minute I first got there I felt coach [Marvin] Menzies and the guys brought me into their family. So I committed.”

And when he told Menzies the news?

“I told coach Menzies I’d like to commit to UNLV and he was like, ‘Let’s go, baby.’ As soon as I committed it was like I was part of the family.”

That family atmosphere is what Pierre-Louis cited as the deciding factor in UNLV’s favor. He also had Oklahoma State and Georgia in his final three, but after two days in Las Vegas with his mother and father, the Runnin’ Rebels were the clear choice.

“My family is very close,” Pierre-Louis said. “Where I’m from in New Jersey, everybody knows each other. My dad and mom looked at it like, if I’m going somewhere far away, it has to be a family-type environment. My parents loved [UNLV]. They loved coach Menzies, loved the players, the campus.”

Pierre-Louis is a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 8.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a junior last year while helping Roselle Catholic to a state championship and the No. 1 ranking in New Jersey. Rivals.com rates him as a 3-star prospect.

UNLV now has two commitments from the Class of 2019, as point guard Ethan Anderson also pledged in July. There are two seniors set to graduate after the 2018-19 season (Shakur Juiston and Kris Clyburn), so the Rebels’ scholarships are technically filled for next year. The coaching staff is still recruiting other players from the Class of 2019, however, so some additional roster turnover is expected before the 2019-20 season.

Pierre-Louis will bring length and athleticism to the backcourt. He is an aggressive, wiry defender and an above-the-rim finisher on offense.

He also wants to bring some New Jersey style to UNLV.

“I’m not flashy,” Pierre-Louis said. “I’m a very gritty player. I love to play great defense and get my hands on the ball. I want to bring that nit and grit to Las Vegas.”

While recruiting services list him as both point guard and shooting guard, Pierre-Louis said he considers himself to be a scoring point guard in the mold of Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook.

“Nowadays in today’s game, I’m a point guard,” Pierre-Louis said. “That’s what I’ve always played my whole career. I can get wherever I want on the court and I can be a prolific scorer. I like to get in the lane and pass the ball, so I can make plays and also score the ball.”

Pierre-Louis said his top priority as a senior will be to help his team win another state championship. He also wants to add 10 pounds (he currently weighs in at 180 pounds) and improve his jump shot. He made 15 3-pointers in 29 games as a junior.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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