Josh Southern had already established himself as one of the top players in the in-state class of 2007, but impressive showings this summer, including a strong outing at the Nike Hoop Jamboree last month, are helping him to gain national recognition as well.
During the year, the 6-8, 250-pounder bowled over the competition in the paint, helping the Trojans make it all the way to the state semifinals. With his double-double average (self reported stats of 12 points and 12 rebounds), he was/is a real presence in the post. Unlike many big men his age, Southern really pays attention to all aspects of playing in the paint and uses his body extremely well. Defensively, he is not afraid to be physical and is a big time rebounder. When he has the ball in his hands on offense, his back to the basket game is very effective and he shows nice touch. All of those traits were on display when he matched up with Tom Herzog at the Spiece Run-N-Slam tourney in Fort Wayne, Indiana this spring. He managed to covert a number of shots over the long seven footer and was the only Michigan Mustang player that could keep Herzog off of the boards.
"I'm not going to back down back down from anyone out there," Southern said afterward. "I'm going to take it up strong against whomever I'm playing. I'm confident in what I can do. "
Josh Southern on Tom Herzog
Saginaw coach Lou Dawkins is just as confident in his young big-man's abilities. He has long claimed Southern to be a high major prospect, and last weekend he informed GoBlueWolverine that his claim had recently been proven true. "Michigan State offered ‘Big Josh' a scholarship," Dawkins said. "We went up there and Coach Izzo came right out and offered him."
When we spoke to Southern about the schools on his list, it was obvious that the Spartans stick out above the rest at this point. "I like Kentucky, Michigan State, Michigan, and Arizona," he said. "State is probably [the favorite]."
While the Green and White may have the early edge, the other schools on the list will get every opportunity to challenge that standing. Michigan coach Tommy Amaker recently had the chance to let Southern know that Michigan is one of the teams that will be looking to do just that. "He said he was very interested in me and stuff like that," Southern said of his conversation with Amaker a few weeks back. "I only talked to him for a brief minute, though, because we went to go hoop after that."
Amaker, as well as the coaches from the other programs courting him, will get many more opportunities to speak with Southern down the line. The talented post-player indicated that his decision is a long way off. "I'll probably wait until my senior year," he said. "The factors are going to be education, campus size, and the basketball program."