Monday, August 19, 2013

Joseph Commits to Syracuse

By: Jeremy Leveille
From a youngster in Nashua with a basketball in his hand to Syracuse recruit and top 10 point guard prospect in the country. It's been quite a journey for Kaleb Joseph, and it's only the beginning. Over 25 Division I schools offered Joseph a scholarship. Earlier this summer he narrowed his list to just 3 programs - Syracuse, Providence and West Virginia. This weekend though, Joseph gave a verbal commitment to head coach Jim Boeheim and the Orangemen.

"It's a good feeling" Joseph told the NH Notebook. "Syracuse has always been a dream of mine, but getting to the NBA is the ultimate goal. So I still have a lot of work to do."

Joseph went on an official visit to Syracuse this past weekend with his parents, and that is when he made his decision.

"My visit to Syracuse was a lot of fun" explained the explosive 6-foot-2 point guard. "I got to know Coach Boeheim, and the whole team went over to his house for dinner. I really liked how family oriented they were. My parents liked it too, they liked seeing the Carrier Dome, it's huge. What really sold me though was when I got to see the team practice. Their style of play is built around the guards, and I could see there is a real need for me on the team."

Joseph played his freshman year at Nashua South before transferring to Cushing Academy in Massachusetts and reclassifying to the Class of 2014. Since then, between playing at Cushing and on the AAU circuit with the Rivals Basketball Club he has taken his game to new heights.

""His first major offer was from Boston College, 15 months ago" said Vin Pastore, who has coached Joseph with the Rivals for the past 3 years. "We were at the Boston College Elite Camp. Kaleb came down the lane and had a put-back dunk. That play made everyone in the gym stop and just say, 'Wow'. From there, the offers kept coming."

The success continued for Joseph last winter, when he led Cushing to the NEPSAC Class AA championship.

""He's a coachable kid, he wants to get better, wants to learn" Pastore continued. He is a pass-first point guard who can also score the basketball. He has that pull-up jumper off a ball screen that few players have. If the defender bites on the fake he'll hit the shot. He is a great decision maker with the basketball, and is also tough on defense with his length and quickness. The only thing left is the maturity of his body and his game."

Joseph has worked extremely hard on his game to get to this level, putting in countless hours at the gym.

"I got the pull-up jumper from Dimitri Floras" said Joseph, talking about Floras who he grew up playing against and was later teammates with on the Rivals. "When we were younger that's one thing he had that I didn't so I really started working on it. I worked on my weaknesses to turn them into strengths. Being able to run the pick-and-roll has become a strength for me, and Coach Boeheim has talked to me about how that will help me play the pro style game because they run a lot of pick-and-roll in the NBA. To also help me get to the pro style game I have to add strength, put on a few pounds without losing quickness. I also have to work on the mental aspect of the game which is big in the NBA."

Joseph has exhibited tremendous work ethic and determination, which Coach Pastore says is reminiscent of his former Rivals teammate Noah Vonleh. Vonleh is a McDonald's All-American (Haverhill, MA) who now enters his freshman year at Indiana.

"Noah set the tone with his work ethic, and just being in the gym everyday working" said Pastore. Kaleb witnessed Noah firsthand, and took after him. Those are the two guys from this region who have have great work ethic. It's been a pleasure coaching both of them."

Joseph is a top 10 point guard prospect and top 60 recruit in the nation for the Class of 2014 according to ESPN.com. He is one of the highest rated guard prospects to ever come out of New Hampshire.

"Not many players from NH have had the opportunity to do what I'm doing" Joseph said. "That is what has really motivated me, as well as all of the support I have received from everyone. Vin has helped me a lot, he has taught me the value of hard work. My high school coach (Barry Connors) has also helped me. He has stayed on me about academics, and to be a leader in the classroom as well as on the court."

So now with the stress of having to make his college decision behind him, Joseph gets ready to head back to Cushing for his senior year where he'll attempt to lead the team to yet another NEPSAC championship.

"It will be easier for me to focus now, I'll have a lot less stress" remarked Joseph. "This summer especially was crazy, constantly getting calls from college coaches. I've already been on 6 or 7 unofficial visits to Providence, and I had been planning on doing an official visit to West Virginia once school started back up. But this weekend I made my decision to go with Syracuse and I'm very excited."

Joseph continues to put New Hampshire basketball on the map and make everyone from his home state proud.

"He really is a great kid, he's humble and has a good head on his shoulders" Coach Pastore concluded. "This has been his dream for quite awhile. I've watched him chase that dream and make it a reality. It's a great story."

And the story is just beginning.

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