Villanova recruiting talk has had a strong 2011 focus recently, and rightly so with top prospects such as Mike Gilchrist, Tony Wroten, Rakeem Christmas, Brad Beal, and many other fantastic high school basketball players considering continuing their basketball careers on the Main Line. But 2010 recruiting has gotten lost in the 2011 frenzy a little bit, and one very high level player in his own right who is considering playing in college for Jay Wright’s Wildcats may not be getting the attention he should be getting from ‘Nova fans is Cory Joseph.
Since a few weeks before Mike’s mention of the in home visit with Joseph and his mother I have been very curious about him, so I decided to do a little more searching and see what I could find. A talented combo guard who plays for national powerhouse Findlay Prep in Nevada (last year’s high school national champions), Joseph is ranked #7 by Rivals (#3 PG), #22 by Scout (#6 PG), and #30 by ESPN (#6 PG).
However, in a recent article about 2010 point guards ESPN notes that Joseph is a player to keep an eye on, stating:
The Canadian import established himself as one of the best point guards in the 2010 class when he led Findley Prep to an undefeated season and the high school national championship. Joseph is an ambidextrous playmaker with a great understanding of when to run his team and when to take over a game. He has terrific range on his 3-point shot. With another big year he could sneak into the top 25 by season's end.”
Joseph is a team player who averaged 10.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.1 steals last season playing on and off the ball for Findlay, along with shooting an astounding 50.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line according to the Las Vegas Sun. In an interview posted by Mike Anthony on a UConn blog, his head coach at Findlay Michael Peck raves about Joseph’s intangibles, “There are things you can’t teach and explain, and he has that. He’s selfless. The bottom line is he’s about winning.” According to the article Peck stated that Joseph hopes to narrow his list to 5 schools soon and begin scheduling officials, with UConn, Florida, Villanova, and UNLV high on the list. Next season should be interesting for Joseph as he will be able to take a little more control of the Findlay team after the graduation of guard Avery Bradley, a consensus top-5 2009 recruit (#4 Rivals, #2 Scout, #1 ESPN).
Joseph seems to have progressed considerably as a player recently based on ESPN’s scouting reports. Some things have been relatively consistent in his scouting reports. ESPN’s scouting reports have stated for some time and still say that Joseph is a fantastic shooter, has very good quickness, and also has good defensive abilities. His ability to shoot makes him a prime candidate to be a deadly player off the ball in Villanova’s system a-la Corey Stokes, and his size at 6’3 to 6’4 makes him a viable candidate to guard the 2 spot. His quickness and savvy seem to give him the physical abilities to play the point guard spot as well. But while ESPN’s earlier reports portrayed Joseph as a player capable of playing on the ball at times, but far more comfortable off it, but now say:
The Canadian product is steadily becoming one of the better players and point guards in the 2010 recruiting class. He may have been the prospect with the most buzz coming out of this event. He put on a show in the semi-finals against the 2011 US Team dropping 36 points and dishing 12 dimes against two of the top US point guards in the 2011 class and followed it up with a 33 point performance in a tough loss in the championship game against the 2010 US Team. He plays with a great feel and pace using his court vision to pick apart the defense. Although he is right handed he loves to play with the ball in his left hand and can attack effectively going either direction. He consistently buried open three's throughout the tournament and showed a good mid-range game. He is one of those players that always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Plays very unselfishly, but can go get his own shot and take over a game at any time. He has a little old school in him using his body to shield defenders and spin dribbling to the basket. He is deceptively quick showing no problem accelerating by the highest level guards he at the event. He is a rangy defender that covers a lot of ground and uses his instincts off the ball to come up with steals. This kid is a gamer that should continue to turn heads as the year goes on.
His list in early August sat at 15 schools per Adam Zagoria: Villanova, Louisville, UConn, Kansas, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Cal, Mississippi State, Memphis, Syracuse, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Minnesota, UNLV, Texas A&M and Ohio State. However, a recent Rivals feature on Joseph mentioned that he should be cutting down his list soon. As Mike mentioned, ‘Nova recently had an in home visit with Joseph and should be meeting with him again soon. Zagoria also noted recently that Marquette, Texas, ‘Nova, Arizona, UNLV, UConn, Florida, and Memphis are scheduled to have in homes with Joseph, and Rivals speculates as to whether Kansas will be coming to meet with Joseph as well. The only additions from the prior list of 15 on the in homes list seem to be Marquette and Arizona. The Las Vegas Sun also notes that Joseph has made unofficial visits to Cal, Louisville, and Ohio State last season and Connecticut, Marquette, Minnesota, and Nova during the summer. Given ‘Nova is showing considerable interest in Joseph scheduling multiple in home visits, has been on his list since the beginning of August, and is mentioned in just about every article about Joseph, it seems that the Wildcats stand a good chance of being on his final list and getting an official visit.
ESPN has ‘Nova in the top 5 schools for Joseph along with Minnesota (where his brother Delvoe plays), UConn, Kansas, and Georgetown. Villanova is listed fourth. Rivals has Joseph’s interest in Villanova at Medium which is the same as all of the other school’s on Joseph’s list, and Scout has his interest in Villanova at Medium as well which is the highest Scout lists his interest in any school, though Scout does list some schools at Low interest.
Joseph has no timetable for his decision, telling the Las Vegas Sun, “Whenever it feels right to me,” Joseph said. “When I feel like I want to commit, that’s when I’ll commit. Might be early. Might be late. Whenever it feels like I’m ready.” Villanova seems to fit a school that he would want to attend, given he wants to look at the relationship that he will have with each coach and the team’s playing style “And academics,” Joseph said. “You never know. You always have to have a second option. I also want to see who’s coming in and who’s going out. Obviously, you don’t want to go where there are a lot of guys at your position. That’s what I’m looking for.” The focus on academics is obviously good for Villanova looking at the schools on his list. With Scottie Reynolds leaving some of his minutes will be up for grabs which Joseph certainly knows, and if Corey Fisher explodes this year as some think he might and leaves for the NBA that would open up even more potential play time for Joseph. In a video interview available on youtube (I’ll post the link at the bottom for anybody who wants to check it out) Joseph also states that he would like to play uptempo, which fits the Wildcats system. So it seems that Villanova has what he is looking for and could be a good fit for Joseph based on what he has said.
Between Cory Joseph’s savvy, shooting ability, versatility, quickness, defensive abilities, team oriented approach, and success at the high school level, he seems like a fantastic fit for the Villanova Wildcats. Most players are easy to look at and find a major weakness in the skill level: motor, shooting ability, ball handling, mid range game, not being able to use both hands dribbling or finishing, focus, but Joseph seems to have all of these abilities. He looks very smooth on the offensive end and seems to be able to score from just about any spot on the floor. He may not be a freak athlete like Isaiah Armwood, but Joseph seems like the kind of player that championship teams need to have and has more than enough quickness to get by. His ability to play both guard spots at an arguably elite level offensively and a very high level defensively makes him an incredibly valuable player for Villanova because Coach Wright will obviously play more guards around him.
On top of his physical abilities Joseph seems to be a good person and great teammate who is friendly with most of his teammates and does what he can to lead the younger teammates that he has. He is also a coachable player who is always looking to his coaches for little ways he can improve his game or his decision making, and has a good work ethic. In the video clip he mentions that while he wants to work on his strength the most, he always works on everything in his game. Most importantly, Joseph just wants to win and seems to be just as happy to defer to his teammates as he would be to take over the game as long as in the end his team gets the W.
While nobody will replace Scottie Reynolds and a high school skill set may not transfer into college, Joseph’s ability to play on and off the ball would help ease the loss of Reynolds who has played valuable minutes at both spots for the past 3, soon to be 4 years. One could argue that Joseph in fact has the talent to be an upgrade from a skill set perspective, as he is a similar shooter off the ball but seems to have shown better point guard skills, along with superior height and athleticism and has the intangibles to be a good decision maker on the floor and a leader on a winning team. Whether or not he reaches his potential remains to be seen, but Villanova is certainly one of the best places for a guard like Joseph to reach his very high potential. As I’m sure you can tell I am a huge Cory Joseph fan I have found him to be a player who I really would love to see in blue and white and I hope to watch him lead Villanova to a (second consecutive?!) national championship during the 2010-2011 season.
We present to you, Mr Cory Joseph...