Southern Hospitality

One of the top junior hoops prospects in the state of Michigan is Josh Southern, a 6-9, 230-pound power forward out of Saginaw, Michigan. Southern lists several early scholarship offers from an impressive list of schools. Right now, Southern is focused on playing quarterback for his football team, but basketball is where his future lies. Kyle Lamb has more.

He's from the state of Michigan, located squarely in the Great Lakes Region. But talking to him, you just know he exemplifies Southern Hospitality.

Fitting then, his name is Josh Southern.

The 6-9 230-pound Southern from Saginaw, Mich. is a warm, welcoming junior who is humble, modest and sincere. That's despite his brash and physical demeanor on the court.

Last year as a sophomore, Southern averaged approximately 12 points and 12 rebounds for his high school team. This summer he exploded nationally for the Michigan Mustangs on the AAU circuit, attracting some of the country's top coaches to Saginaw this fall to see him play.

"I had a good exposure and it was a good experience," Southern said of the summer fun. "Since the summer it's been crazy."

One of the many thrills for Southern was taking a trip out west to Las Vegas. He self-reportedly stayed out of trouble.

But then again, it is Vegas, right?

"I had a fun time," he laughed.

Southern is ranked the No. 13 center in the nation by and although he's considered a center, some project him to be capable of playing at power forward at the next level as well.

Southern might compare favorably for Ohio State fans to senior center Terence Dials. Southern is strong in the paint, tenacious on the boards, and a real workhorse. If there's a part of his game still improving, it's his range.

But right now his focus is on football season, where his team has unfortunately begun 0-4. It's even tougher for Southern because he's the rare breed at his position - a 6-9 quarterback.

"Yes, I'm definitely the biggest around," he admitted of his size. "The season hasn't gone too well."

There is no impasse as to what sport Southern is playing at the next level, however. It's basketball all the way.

Not only is he clear on what sport he wants to play, but Southern holds a 3.3 GPA and plans to major in either mechanical engineering or business.

"I've got to stay on top of my grades," he noted. "I can't mess around with school."

College is a high priority for Southern, and he's just beginning to find out a lot more about many of the schools recruiting him.

Southern hopes to begin taking unofficial visits over the next several weeks on the weekend for football games, although he hasn't yet had as much luck as he was originally hoping.

It's a clouded picture, as several schools have offered him, and many more are recruiting him.

"There's Michigan, Michigan State, Miami (Fla.), Florida, Boston College, Ohio State, Wyoming, Oregon State, Pittsburgh and a lot of others," Southern listed of the schools that he was looking at and had offered.

Of those schools, Michigan State seems to be the early favorite.

The Spartans, like the Wolverines, are close to home and Southern does admit there's a small preference there to stay close. He said the Spartans are the team he grew up watching.

"Michigan State is probably one of my favorites right now," he admitted. "They are the school that I like the most right now, at least a little bit. But there are a lot of out-of-state schools I like a lot too."

Southern said that Ohio State is one of those schools from out of the state's boundaries he is interested in.

"Well, for starters I know that they are getting Greg - Greg Oden," Southern said of what he knows about Ohio State thus far. "They have got some real good players coming in."

"They want me to come down and play power forward for them. I like Coach (Thad) Matta. I'm planning to come down to visit for a football game," he added.

In addition to Ohio State, Southern said he wanted to visit Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh this fall if he got the chance.

Visits to Michigan and Michigan State are not necessary as he said he has been to both campuses plenty, and he wanted to see more of the other schools.

Southern did say that many of those coaches had been in to watch him in open gyms - including Matta about two weeks ago in Saginaw.

As of now, Southern has no timeframe for when he will make his college decision, but he said he would just go with the flow and whenever he made visits and felt comfortable, he will make it.

While he continues to destroy the competition on the court, he will continue to be a little nicer off of it. It's the Southern way.

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