So we at the Can Ball Report, in our effort to expose as much Canadian basketball to as many people we can (and we are trying to do that) are beginning a new content feature right here. In what we hope will be a continous and exciting fixture on these web pages, we begin our overseas player journals to give us a glimpse into the lives of the Canucks that are living and playing in far off countries. To start off this series we have recruited Montreal native and former Champlain Cavalier and Vermont Catamount star guard Maurice Joseph. We shouldn't have to tell you about MoJo but we asked him to do so anyway. We here at The Can Ball Report are jacked up to hear about MoJo's first season playing abroad and the new life he's starting. So without further adieu we present From Long Distance ...
What’s up everybody!
Let me start by saying what an honor it is to be doing this blog for The Can Ball Report. Canadian hoops has come a long way in a short period of time and it’s thanks in part to the increased exposure that teams and players are now getting in the media. Although I think Canadian basketball can improve in certain areas, the strides that have been made are something to be proud of.
Well, to kick this thing off, my name is Maurice Joseph and I was born and raised in Montreal. I went to Champlain St-Lambert where I played for three years before getting a full scholarship to play for Tom Izzo at Michigan State University. I transferred to the University of Vermont to play for Mike Lonergan after my sophomore season where I played two years and finished up my college career. I am currently with my first pro club overseas playing for Hapoel Afula in Israel.
Making the decision to continue my basketball career after college was an easy one. Playing ball is all I have really known. I still got that urge in my gut to compete, win, work out, bond with teammates and most of all, to just play. So after my senior season ended (with a bitter sweet loss to my baby bro in the first round of the NCAA Tournament), I began the agent search, found good representation and before I knew it I was on my way to Afula, Israel.
I have been here for almost a month and things have been smooth. I am in a position where my coaching staff wants me to be aggressive looking to score and to shoot the ball. Now, if you know me or my game at all, you know that they won’t have to ask me twice to let that thing fly! I’m still adjusting to some language barrier issues that sometimes make communication difficult on the court but it has been improving every day in practice.
I have already played in five exhibition games and we recently had our first official game Tuesday night as part of the Israeli Cup, from what I understand is a one-and-done type of deal that you play throughout your season and they schedule the games between you regular season games so long as you continue to win; almost like ESPN Bracket Buster games but in tournament format. The game went well for us. We won by double digits but gave up a big lead in the fourth quarter, so we still have a lot of work to do as a team to find our identity. As for me, I had a pretty good start to my season. I finished the game with 31 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist. The team pressed a lot (which made for an up and down game since the shot clock is only 24 seconds) and we got good looks from 3 and layups in transition.
Our next game will be on October 5thand this game will be part of our regular season. I hear the team is experienced and talented so I’m anxious to get after it! That’s about it for now. I’m looking forward to doing this blog as a lot of exciting things are happening. NBA preseason (I’m a big Lakers fan), NFL season (Colts fan) and my college teams approaching the start of practice. Just so you know I’ll be following MSU, Syracuse and of course my UVM Catamounts! So, until next time folks… Stay cool!
Big shout to MoJo for taking the time to hook us up on his life. You can stay up to date with Maurice Joseph on the daily in his surroundings overseas on Twitter at mo25jo. Stay tuned for more from him right here throughout the season along with other Canadian ballers across the water ...