Tyler Pierre’s unique journey to Oswego State

OSWEGO, N.Y.– Normal concerns for college athletes include tests, papers and practice. What does not qualify as a normal concern is worrying about your university abruptly closing.

Tyler Pierre speaking with me after practice

That is exactly the obstacle Oswego State junior Tyler Pierre had to overcome. In the summer of 2016, while grocery shopping with a friend, Pierre received an email from his school Dowling College that it was shutting down. The Long Island-based college had been dealing with financial issues for several years, which led to the eventual closing. As a forward on the basketball team, Pierre was not only worried about where he was going to continue his education, but where he would continue playing ball.

“Coach Leone reached out to me, got me up here for a visit and I enjoyed it,” Pierre said.

Coach Leone (left) setting up a drill in practice with Pierre (right)

Along with the campus visit, Oswego State men’s basketball head coach Jason Leone made a visit to Pierre’s home in Deer Park, N.Y. to recruit the transfer. The interest and effort shown by Leone along with the basketball team’s track record in recent seasons were too much to turn down for Pierre.

“At this level, anytime you can get a big guy that has played at a higher level, it’s very hard to turn that opportunity down,” said Leone.

While it was awkward timing to bring in another player, Pierre’s upside was too much to pass up. Dowling College was Division 2 for men’s basketball, so the Lakers received some talent from a higher division. Pierre was able to find a new home quickly.

“I think he would tell you, and I know I would tell you, that he’s worked out great for both of us,” said Leone.

In Pierre’s first season with Oswego State, he was 6th on the team in minutes played as the Lakers captured the 2017 SUNYAC title en route to their third straight NCAA tournament appearance. Now, in his second year, Pierre has taken over the starting center role and currently leads the team in rebounding. With his new found leadership role, Pierre will look to lead the Lakers to their 3rd straight NCAA tournament appearance.