It's hard to believe that second year pro and Pickering native, Cory Joseph could still be attending Texas University and would only be a junior with another year of eligibility left. It seems like a distant memory for the San Antonio Spurs point guard.
In 2011, Joseph and Tristan Thompson started a stir in a shift of basketball in Canada, as both were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft (Thompson, 4th and Joseph, 29th). This marked the first time since 1983 where two Canadians were drafted in the first round (Leo Rautins, 17th and Stewart Granger, 25th). It seems like they started a trend with five Canadians drafted in the past two drafts, and other Canadians who are projected in the future.
Prior to attending Texas, Joseph spent his first two high school years playing with Pickering High School, where he led the team to back-to-back provincial basketball
championships. For his final two years, he went south of the boarder and enrolled at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cory was able to bring over his winning ways from Pickering to Las Vegas. In his first season with Findlay, the team featured two other future NBAers in School Invitational (NHSI) Championships. And in doing this, he garnered plenty of attention from numerous NCAA Division I schools including; Texas, Connecticut, Minnesota, UNLV and Villanova to name a few. Success continued to follow Cory as he was also named a McDonald’s All-American in his senior year at Findlay.
In first and only season at Texas, alongside Thompson, Joseph had a great start with the Longhorns. As a freshman, he started all 36 games and averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3 steals per game. With those impressive stats, he was named to the Big 12 All-Rookie Team and was a Big 12 honorable mention. He helped lead Texas Longhorns to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before a buzzer beater from Derrick Williams from Arizona sent Texas packing. Even with the loss, it was a very talented team for the Longhorns that year. After the season was over, three Longhorns were selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft (Thompson 4th, Jordan Hamilton 26th and Joseph 29th).
Although selected by one of the most respected organizations, San Antonio Spurs, it wasn't all easy for the 20 year-old rookie. With the NBA lockout underway, Joseph didn't have the luxury of summer league or a proper training camp; a vital aspect for any player who needs to adjust to the speed of a NBA game. Joseph saw limited game action, but Joseph was able to practice day in and day out with NBA All-Stars like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker.
During his rookie season, Joseph split time with the Spurs and their D-League affiliate team, Austin Toros. With the Spurs, he played in 29 games (starting in 1), while with Austin, he saw action in 21 games (starting 19) and was the offensive leader for the Toros. For many players getting demoted to the D-League is a tough blow to a player’s confidence, but Joseph took it as a great opportunity to play and continue his development. With the Toros, he played 32.9 minutes a game, during the regular season, where he averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per contest. During his stint with the Toros, Joseph was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played March 19-25.
Another part of Joseph’s development has come from representing Canada on the world stage. Cory has played on Canada’s junior men's national team twice, and once with the senior men's national team. Over the summer, he took part in the senior men's national team training camp with over 30 other Canadians including; his brother Devoe Joseph, who plays professionally in Ukraine, as well as with his cousin, Kris Joseph who was drafted last year by the Boston Celtics.
For the 2012-13 seasons, Joseph began by playing in the summer league where he was named an All-Star after tearing up the summer league season. Starting off the season, he made the Spurs opening roster, but was sent down to Austin. He has recently been recalled back to the Spurs, just in time for the team's road-trip which includes a stop in Toronto on Sunday. Expect many Cory Joseph supporters at the Air Canada Centre, when the Spurs take on the Toronto Raptors. To get discounted tickets to the game this Sunday, click here.