Joseph Turning Heads In D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - It's just a matter of time before word gets out. There's a new player in D.C. and Kris Joseph has already won over a host of admirers.

Originally the plan was to catch the DeMatha-Carroll game Friday night. Unfortunately, the contest was moved to Thursday and Plan B went into effect. Instead of a game against a talented Stags team we were fortunate enough to catch a practice session at Carroll.

After 2/12 hours of watching Clinton Perrow put his team through the paces a day after a 10-point setback to DeMatha, we came to a simple conclusion: Kris Joseph is a high-major prospect worthy of early spring evaluations from the big time programs.

The 6-foot-7 Canadian projects as a small forward and his 17-point average in the WCAC points to his talent. Equally as important, he's drawn raves from other coaches in the league and college programs routinely buzz his games.

Joseph is the brother of Michigan State guard Maurice Joseph. He's 18 and in the United States so he can advance his basketball career before getting his college clock started. The 2008 prospect wanted a chance to compete and he's getting it in D.C.

"I came here for two years and right away I can go straight to college," Joseph said. "It's for better opportunities competitively. There it was rare to see a 6-7 that was better than you (in Canada). Here in the WCAC everybody is stronger and better and it's really more competitive."

Perrow wasn't sure what he had in Joseph until a he got a call to come see a pick up game last year. "I put him together with the team mom and she took them over to a rec center," Perrow said. "She calls me and says ‘you need to get over here, this kid is pretty special.' I put my clothes on and he's in there cookin' everybody. It was hard not to grin and smile."

Armed with the knowledge he had a player, Perrow saw his vision come to fruition early in the season. "He drives to the lane and he was going to lay it up. All of the sudden he decided that he was to dunk it and he dunks it over a kid that's 6-6. … I was like ‘wow, that was pretty special.' It wasn't a garbage (time) move it was a move to win the game."

Forget the dunks, the athletically built frame and the smile that engages whoever comes in contact with him. Joseph is a ball player. Gifted as a passer, well versed on the perimeter and blossoming inside, he's one of those talents who, on the AAU stage, will have a chance to showcase his game nationally.

Most of the kids his size start out inside and have to develop perimeter skills. Joseph is exactly the opposite and because of that aspect, versatility appears to be his calling card.

"I wasn't used to playing the block at first," Joseph said. "My versatility allows me to play in the post and outside. I'd rather go outside and then in.

"It gives me versatility. I never played the post in my life. I came here and had to play the post and that was a tough transition."

Perrow couldn't be more pleased. His best player has an infectious smile, a player's walk and the ability to make his teammates better.

"His whole calm, cool even demeanor is what's so special about the kid. Knowing that he's the superstar that he is or could be, even with his teammates it's hard for them to get jealous because he handles it so well.

"He's the most unselfish player I've ever seen. He gives up the ball."

He may be in a giving mode this season but sooner or later he'll be in position to take a scholarship offer from someone. With each passing week, word continues to leak out about a player in D.C.

"It's incredible," Perrow said. "Tommy Amaker was at our game last Friday."

"Big" John Thompson has been over with his son to see Joseph. Mix in assistants from Syracuse, Texas, Maryland, Clemson, Arizona State and Gonzaga, to name a few, and Joseph isn't short of admirers.

"They're coming to see him," Perrow said. "No one has officially offered him. He told me Clemson indicated they would offer him."

Joseph loves college basketball. To listen to him talk about the game gives you an indication how serious he is as a player. A lot of kids watch the NBA. Joseph, he's a college guy.

"Even before my brother went to Michigan State. I watch specific players. I try to watch Kevin Durant and Julian Wright from Kansas. I used to watch Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay and Tracy McGrady; small forwards who make the game easy. That's who I like to model my game after."

Syracuse was in town the other night to see him and the Orangemen have mined talent from his area before. Donte Greene is headed there next season and Joseph is a fan of "Melo." How do we know? The Canadian born Joseph incorporated Melo into his own email address.

The Spartans, where his brother is coaches by Tom Izzo, would seem like a natural team to be involved but Joseph has looked into it already. "They wanted to but they recruited some many players for the class coming in it wouldn't make any sense for me to go there."

This versatile small forward is looking for a place he can use his talents. A place that lets him runt he floor, handle it and be his own creative self on the court. "I like to run. Not freedom but I like to run the floor and get up and down. Teams that go up and down are the teams that give you opportunities – fastbreak buckets in transition – that's the team I want to play on."

Basketball junkies in D.C. know there's a player at Carroll. Soon enough so will the rest of the country. It's simply a matter of time.


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