San Antonio Spurs rookie Cory Joseph has been training at the University of Texas in recent weeks and finds himself back on his hometown in a spot he says he has dreamed of since he was a kid.
“It’s an honor to play for your country,” he says. It’s also a good way of staying sharp during the lockout.
“I haven’t played in a real game since the Arizona game,” Joseph says, referring to the Longhorns’ loss at this year’s NCAA tournament.
However long it may have been since he’s played, Joseph is a major addition to the Canadian team, says head coach Leo Rautins.
“Cory’s got a chance to be a special player,” he says. “One of the things we want to do is push the ball. We want to get up the floor, and that’s what Cory does very, very well.”
Joseph had only one practice with the national team before hitting the floor with them this weekend at the 2011 Jack Donohue International classic.
The newest member of the squad says he really only has one challenge when he suits up with his new teammates.
“Just to find out where they like to get the ball as a point guard, what’s their game. Just give me a game or two,” Joseph says.
Finding his place within the team’s chemistry will be relatively easy for Joseph, who already knows several players.
“I always talk to Jermaine Anderson and Denham Brown and Jevohn Shepherd,” he says. “We went over the plays and what not, so I’ll be able to come in and grab things quickly.”
For now, however, Joseph says his focus is on qualifying for the Olympics.
“We have one mindset, and it’s to win,” he says.
On Saturday night, Joseph played his debut with the Senior men’s national team in a victory over Belgium.
A packed house at Ryerson University went home happy after Team Canada hung on to beat a feisty Belgium squad 79-74.
Not having enough time to practice with his Canadian teammates, Joseph only scored three points but showed a lot of potential on the defensive end.
Team Canada will face Belgium once more tomorrow in Hamilton, Ontario to wrap up the Donohue classic.