Being just 19 years old and only having experienced one season in college, San Antonio Spurs’ Cory Joseph knows that he is a major part of how far the Canadian national basketball team will go in the 2011 FIBA Americas tournament and beyond.
Joseph has struggled shooting in his first two exhibition games with Canada but has shown his defensive and speed skills which may have been major factors for the Spurs drafting him in the first round of the NBA draft back in June.
Joseph says adapting to the international game is the main key right now.
“The most difficult one is you’re playing with men,” he said. “We’re all men here now and it’s a little bit different in college where you might get away with some things in the paint or whatnot. There’s some difference in the terms of rotations, offensively and defensively, so it’s just getting accustomed to that.”
As far as his performance on offense, Joseph is trying to transition his way into finding his best shots and learning where to set up his teammates.
“I’m getting the hang of it,” he said. “Obviously, the first two games it was a little bit getting that rust off and whatnot. But going through practice, I’m getting the hang of what the coach wants me to do and what my teammates want and where they like to get the ball.”
Joseph is a player like so many Spurs players whom takes pride in representing his country.
“I want to be here for a long time. It’s important to represent your country.”
Not only is the country of Canada watching Joseph’s every move, but all of Spurs fans, and most likely staff are watching what the young Canadian can bring to the future of the team. He’s already made key points about his defense and the fact that he mentioned he wants to learn where his teammates like the ball may help Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich and General Manager R.C. Buford ease a little bit more as they can figure out whether or not to get Tony Parker a backup point guard or give the keys for that spot entirely to Joseph.
(Photo: Steve Russell, Toronto Star)