The Can Ball Report caught up with Ajax, ON native and current Minnesota Golden Gopher Devoe Joseph at the Canada Basketball Men's Development Team camp not long ago. Check out our chat with a player that is on the verge of a great summer and another breakthrough college season ...
In case you didn't know, Cory has a big brother and his name is Devoe. Devoe went on to have what you might say was a break out season with Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers. Due to some personnel losses during the season, Devoe was given increased playing time and by mid season had solidified himself in the starting lineup. He would help engineer an amazing run at the end of the season to help propel the Gophers into the NCAA Tournament. Joseph would go on to double his freshman totals to 9.4 points, 2.9 reboundsand 3.0 assists while shooting 38.8% from the three line. We caught up with Devoe a couple of weeks ago at the Air Canada Centre and here is how our chat went ...
Can Ball Report: Looking back on your sophomore season, what would you say are your biggest improvements from the start to finish of the year?
Devoe Joseph: I think my aggressiveness and demeanor. I started to play a lot harder and tougher. Just playing more minutes, and playing the role of a leader, I think I stepped up with that bigger role.
CBR: With the issues that surrounded the Minnesota program this past season, did you see yourself in that bigger role at the start?
DJ: Our team went through a lot of different things and I just felt that at the beginning of the year I just had to work for my spot and an unfortunate situation gave (that role) to me.
CBR: With you picking up the primary ball handling duties as the season went on, how do you think your transition was to the point?
DJ: I moved over from shooting guard to point guard and basically, I played point my freshman year all year long so it wasn’t that big a transition for me. I was never really a shooting guard, I was more of a combo guard so I’ve always had a point guard in me and I felt that I played the point real well.
CBR: Do you feel that this is a natural transition for you?
DJ: Yes, definitely.
CBR: OK, I guess with this bigger role, bigger stage in mind do you feel that the spotlight is placed on you now more so?
DJ: Definitely, especially now with how I ended last year. A lot of teams were seeing how I was starting to leading the team in scoring, I was more of a go to guy on offense so they started to focus on me as a key option. In terms of me going into this year, I think teams are going to start focusing on me a lot more.
CBR: Now you’re at the Development Camp in your off season. I know this is not exactly a vacation for you but have you been having fun at all?
DJ: Of course! This is my life, basketball is my life! It might not be a vacation but this is better than a vacation. Going twice a day, playing with great players, we get to train at the Raptors facility, top of the line coaches like Leo Rautins and Greg Francis, this is great. This is better than being on a beach.
CBR: How do you keep it fun yourself, when you’re on the floor, with the guys, whatever. How do you keep it fun?
DJ: I think it’s just naturally fun. It’s good just being here, the team atmosphere, going to the hotel with the guys, the relationships, I get to be here with my cousin Kris (Joseph). It’s just fun being here.
CBR: Now going into this camp, did you have any expectations for yourself?
DJ: I didn’t have any expectations for myself. I didn’t really know much about who was going to be here, I just knew who was going to coach. I knew that this was an opportunity to work with top of the line coaches and go twice a day and get good experience.
CBR: Now moving onto your brother (Cory Joseph if you’ve been sleeping under rocks for the last year), what advice have you given him since he’s going to be a freshman this season heading into a big time program like you did?
DJ: He has a lot of hype around him right now. I just tell him to keep humble, keep working real hard ‘cause this is the next level now. It’s not like high school. Guys are quicker, stronger, so keep working hard. And also, don’t back down. Go into the school and let these guys know that you can play right away. Go out there, play with confidence and play like you’re an All American freshman.
CBR: So between the two of you, who’s the better shooter?
DJ: I would have to say me. (Laughing)
CBR: You heard it here folks. Devoe is the better Joseph. Thanks for your time Devoe and best of luck on the tour.