Joseph Bertrand is a 6'4" remarkable athlete with plenty of talent. For some reason, when others talk about the great incoming group of Illini recruits, Bertrand seems to be the forgotten kid. Maybe that's because of his demeanor or the area he's from. But when he arrives on campus, he'll do more than make a name for himself.
After watching him play in high school, I concluded he is a player that takes what the defender gives him and doesn't force anything. When a team tries to make him prove his shooting ability, he's able to knock down the key shots from the perimeter. When teams try to take that away, he's able to get to the rim and score from the inside. Bertrand showed the local fans exactly that ability when he, for the second time in his career, came to Assembly Hall and put on a show for his coaches and future teammates.
"I just felt really comfortable playing. I've been playing really good as of late. I just want to work hard on my game and get better all the time," said Bertrand. This month, high school athletes are playing with their high school teams, and away from the AAU circuit, which has also given Bertrand a chance to lift weights and work on his conditioning.
In one match-up last weekend, Bertrand went head-to-head with future teammate Brandon Paul of Warren Township high school. "I've never played against him, he's a great player. He's quick, very strong, and plays the passing lanes very well. It's going to be great when we're on the court together," he added. "During the games, we never said anything to each other, we just played. Actually, the only thing we really said was how hot it was to be playing right now (laughter). That was it," Bertrand stated.
The soft-spoken kid had nothing but good things to say about all the players down there. "I didn't get to see all the games, but what I saw, everyone played good. Marcus Jordan did well I thought too. There are some really good players out there," said Bertrand.
What did his future coaches think of his play, "Well, I really didn't get the chance to talk to them too much, but Coach Weber and Price told me I played well and to keep working hard and keep working on my game," Bertrand said.
Bertrand said he's taking this coming weekend off from competing in games, but plans to have a basketball in his hands at some point. We'll keep you up-to-date on Bertrand and all the other Illini recruits as they work their way through the summer season. So keep it tuned to InsideIllini.com.