Since his early teenage summer days, Montreal native Maurice Joseph has been nailing shots like a birthday boy in the club. After two very successful years at Champlain College in St-Lambert, Quebec, Joseph will soon be making the nine-hour road trip to East Lansing, Michigan. Only this trip should last four years, including a full-scholarship to this year’s Final Four member, Michigan State University.
Born and raised in Montreal, the 19 year-old, nicknamed MoJo, is a shooting guard that plays the perimeter second to none in the country. Joseph’s lightning quick release seems to trigger on command, as he led all CEGEP scorers in Quebec with 22.8 points per game and winning the national Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) MVP award.
After winning the city’s high school championship in his last year at Mont-Royal High School, as well as winning another league MVP award (while averaging over 25 points a game), Joseph chose St-Lambert because of the coaching staff led by John Dangelas, who is the man with the master plan. Dangelas has great contacts with scouts south of the border and pushes his players to play with fierce intensity.
“The best decision I ever made was to play for Dangelas,” commented Joseph. “I didn’t play hard before Champlain, and he makes sure that we give our everything on the court. He shows his players a lot of love and in return we push as hard as we can.”
During scouting sessions last summer at Champlain, MoJo had over a dozen top Division 1 schools come check his game. Along with his mentor Henry Wong (who’s coached at many levels in the Montreal community), Joseph toured his final three choices; Michigan State, NC State and Ohio State. The selection for Joseph wasn’t all that tough considering Michigan State’s coach Tom Izzo gave Joseph the perspective he needed. “He’s a tough coach but a genuine person,” commented the MVP of this year’s Adidas All-Star game. “Coach Izzo is straight forward and told me that I have the chance to play. That’s all I needed.”
The slender 6-4 combo guard keeps a focus that is seen amongst top-caliber athletes. He doesn’t give into the hype, keeps his high profile status on the court while keeping his determination within.
In recent all-star games in Montreal and Toronto, Joseph competed without flair, but with the natural talent and fortitude of Joseph’s idol: His Airness. Joseph also sports the two-three on the back of his jersey, but models his game after Detroit Pistons’ sniper Richard Hamilton. If Joseph is given even the slightest room to pop up and shoot, he will do so before his defender can raise an arm.
“I’m going down there hoping to make some serious noise. I don’t want anyone thinking we’re soft up here in Canada. We have some great programs and some gifted players, it’s now our time to shine.”