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Cory Joseph selects Texas Longhorns over Gophers

Findlay Prep point guard Cory Joseph committed to Texas on Friday. The basketball staff expects to receive the national letter of intent next week.

“I made my decision. I’m back in Toronto, so I had a chance to communicate with my family, go in depth about it,” Joseph told Rivals.com. “I just felt like Texas was the best fit for me.”

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound, five-star recruit was ranked as the nation’s seventh-best overall prospect. Rivals.com reported that he chose Texas over Villanova, Connecticut, Minnesota and UNLV.

“It was mostly the relationship I had with coach [Rick] Barnes,” Joseph said about his decision. “I have good relationships with all the coaches, but my relationship with Coach Barnes fit me best.”

Joseph, along with Findlay and now-Longhorn teammate and lifelong best friend Tristan Thompson, will move to Austin in early June and will be in the mix for immediate playing time. With Avery Bradley thinking about entering the 2010 NBA Draft, Joseph fills a big need for the Longhorns in the backcourt.

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“It’s definitely a relief to put the recruiting process away,” Joseph said. “Just knowing I found the one for me, it’s a blessing. It’s a relief.”

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team lost a recruiting battle with Texas for All-America point guard Cory Joseph, who announced his decision Friday to play for the Longhorns next season.

Minnesota dreamed big in hoping to land Joseph, a senior at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and the seventh-ranked player nationally by Rivals.com. The Gophers tried to sell him on reuniting in college with his older brother, Devoe, a sophomore guard on the team. They also tried to persuade the younger Joseph by signing his childhood friend Maurice Walker, a center from Canada, but it wasn’t enough.

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“I wish all the best to the program,” Joseph told the Pioneer Press on Friday. “(Devoe Joseph and Walker) know I wish all the best for the both of them.”

But Joseph decided instead to play with his high school teammate and fellow McDonald’s All-American Tristan Thompson, who already had signed with Texas. The Longhorns also had received an oral commitment from Canadian guard Myck Kabongo, who will be part of their 2011 class.

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“I have my brother at Minnesota and my friends at Texas,” Joseph told Rivals.com. “Who wouldn’t want to play with their brother or with their friends? So in the end, I just had to go where I thought it was the best fit.”

“I like the style of play at Texas, the way they get up and down the court,” he told the recruiting site. “There is a great opportunity at the point guard position.
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And coach (Rick) Barnes is a great coach and we have a great relationship.”

Minnesota coach Tubby Smith would have two scholarships available if point guard Justin Cobbs transfers. The 2010 recruiting class includes Walker, Nebraska center Elliott Eliason, Tennessee guard Austin Hollins and Latvian forward Oto Osenieks. But Smith needs a point guard, and there aren’t many legitimate options left in the late signing period.

The Gophers had no choice but to wait for Joseph to pick a school. And it’s uncertain now whether the Gophers will sign another player to this year’s class. But they still could add last year’s top recruit, Royce White.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith met Thursday with the former freshman forward who quit school during last season after being suspended for legal issues. White, Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball last year, asked about rejoining the team, but no decision has been made.

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