By the time he reached grade five, Noah LaPierre was already being noticed on the basketball court. Small wonder. Playing with kids four years older, LaPierre was already part of the grade 7/8 Rainbow Championship team at Northeastern Public School back in April of 2009.
And while some early phenoms may stagnate, that’s been the least of the worries for LaPierre, as the eldest of three boys in the family has added excellence in at least a couple more sports to his resume as he prepares to enter high school at Lasalle Secondary.
“I was never into music or arts or anything,” LaPierre said recently. “It’s always been sports.” And it’s always been an area at which he has dominated. It was his initial athleticism on the soccer pitch that caught the eye of long-time basketball mentor John Desormeaux, encouraging the youngster to give basketball a try.
To suggest there was no looking back would be an understatement. “I find it (basketball) so intense – there’s so many ways to improve yourself,” LaPierre said. “It’s a sport that you can just go in the driveway, with a basket, and work by yourself.”
It is this drive to succeed that seems to separate LaPierre from the pack, according to those who work often with the talented 14 year old. While Northeastern coach Dale Beausoleil has raved, on numerous occasions, about the complete package that LaPierre represents, the respect and admiration are mutual.
“It’s an honour to play for him,” LaPierre said. “He’s always helping us out. He’s so intense when you get in the gym, but once you’re out, he’s like the nicest person you would ever meet.”
“He’s so unique – such a good guy.” A record setting athlete in track & field as well, LaPierre has always augmented his school sports participation with his involvement in the club basketball scene, recently travelling to Michigan with the Can Stars program.
“It was a nice experience and there were some good kids at our age, but I was watching the U16’s and kids were throwing it down every possession,” LaPierre said. “It was a lot of fun to watch.”
All of which provides even more motivation for the young man who dreams, at least for now, of the possibility of playing NCAA Division I basketball. “Just watching other people – when I see someone that’s better than me, it just makes me want to work harder,” LaPierre said.
That is the game plan this summer. “I have to hit the gym and get stronger, and work on my jump shot.” A very natural shooter, LaPierre finds himself more at ease at the point guard position, dictating the pace of play with his uncanny ball-handling abilities.
“I find it feels just as good setting someone else up for an open layup as getting a basket myself.” Funny, but most who have seen him play sense that we are likely to see a whole lot of both options over the next four years as LaPierre looks forward to going toe to toe with club teammates and friends at Lockerby Composite.