Written By: Sam Cohn
There’s nothing better than doing something you love with your best friends and the Temple Men’s Basketball team is fortunate to have that bond both on-and-off the court.
In speaking with Temple’s “Big 3” – Shizz Alston Jr., Quinton Rose, and Nate Pierre-Louis – it was clear they have become close friends. No drama, no internal conflict, no fights. It’s all basketball and all love.
“It’s just fun going out there with my best friends. I’m with them every day so going out there and getting wins is just fun to me,” said Rose.
Alston Jr., who is the Owls’ leading scorer, is in his final collegiate season with high hopes of getting a bid to the NCAA tournament in March – not only for himself, but for his teammates and his coach.
Rose, a junior trying to take his game to the next level, is taking in every moment with this team as his future at Temple is in question considering his end goal is an NBA roster spot.
Pierre-Louis, a sophmore, is the youngest of the trio and has found his role with the older crew by bringing an unmatched passion and intensity to the group, game-in and game-out.
“These guys are older brothers to me,” emphasized Pierre-Louis. “I never had a team like this before, it’s like a family and I enjoy every single minute of it.”
Individually, each of these guys is a strong talent that can help this team be successful. Yet, they complement each other’s game well and their relationship off the court feeds into their teamwork on the court.
The Owls have tallied 17 wins through 24 games, finding themselves as a strong bubble team for the NCAA tournament in March, as they enter the final stretch of the season.
In 20 games this season, they’ve had at least three guys score in double figures on a given night. Depth has been an invaluable key to their success; when one guy can’t get the ball to fall, the next guy steps up.
“I think we all wanna see each other succeed so we’ll make that extra pass. We’re happy for each other and celebrate each other’s success,” Alston Jr. added about seeing that friendship translate onto the hardwood.
It was a tough transition early on for them to go from playing with the same teammates through AAU and high school basketball to joining a whole new team and competing at a high Division I level.
“You’re used to playing with a certain type of guy and getting certain looks on the court,” Alston Jr. said. “We spend a lot of time together whether it be in the summer, practicing, or just during the school year so you get adjusted to it fast.”
The relationships extend far beyond the locker room. Rose, Pierre-Louis, and Alston Jr. each spoke highly of the alumni community that come to offseason workouts and are seen as mentors for the team.
“They come up and talk to us, give us pointers in the offseason, and come to practice sometimes,” said Rose about how important the Temple basketball community is to them. “Having that support is definitely good, knowing that they have our back.”
“We see some former players in the stands at our games which helps a lot,” Alston Jr. added.
Having that support system can push guys to take their game to new heights, giving them something to strive for.
Off the court, they’re college kids who love to hangout and spend time together.
Rose and Pierre-Louis mentioned they love to play video games, watch Netflix, and hangout with friends. Time aside from the court is good for these young guys and they prefer to spend it with each other.
The bond on this team stretches far beyond basketball.
“It’s fun when you can go out there and win with people that you care about,” Alston Jr. said.