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From high school standout, to NCAA Final Four, to NBA hopeful, to the Island Storm: in a nutshell, that is the career path of Pierre Henderson-Niles.
The 6-foot-8, 275-pound big man has signed with the Storm and will be with the team for training camp in December.
It’s not unusual for the Island to sign standout college players, but to acquire a player with experience in an NCAA championship game from his playing days with former NBA MVP Derrick Rose as a member of the Memphis Tigers is another.
Henderson-Niles, who was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., is known for his hardnosed play and strong inside game, skills he will bring to P.E.I.
“I like to play close to the basket. I can shoot but I belong down low. I’m an inside-out player.”
Storm coach Joe Salerno is excited to add some grit to his lineup.
“Over the years I feel we have constantly been looking for a physical inside presence who isn't afraid to stick his nose where it doesn't belong sometimes, Pierre is that guy.”
The 28-year-old power forward spent four years at Memphis, three of those years playing for Hall of Fame coach John Calipari, who currently heads up the Kentucky Wildcats.
“I learned so much about basketball and so much about life playing for him. He treats his players like men.”
After his tenure at Memphis, Henderson-Niles attended a pre-draft workout with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks before going overseas to Japan and China for the better part of two seasons. While in China playing for the Guangzhou Free Man, he averaged 13.4 points, and 10.6 rebounds per game.
Following China he made a quick stop in Venezuela before going to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies’ free agent workouts.
His last stop was in the NBA D-League where he spent 36 games with the Iowa Energy last season.
With a solid resume and the willingness to improve, Salerno has high praise for Henderson-Niles.
“He has incredible footwork, and his ability to put the ball on the deck from 18-feet out and finish at the rim should pose some serious matchup problems for other centers and power forwards in our league.”
Looking ahead, Henderson-Niles is ready to get on the court with the Storm.
“I’m looking forward to this season. I want to get in the gym on the Island to get game ready.”
When asked what role he will play for the Storm, he had a simple answer: “I’m the dog. I’ll be the dog in the pound.”
With the signing of Henderson-Niles, the Storm’s training camp roster is now up eight players. They are: Nick Evans, Rashad Whack, Malcolm Grant, Ken Otieno, Andre Malone, Mike Martin and Gary Gibson.