Defensive specialist Joseph showing all-court game for Pacific

December 22, 2015

Michael Joseph basketball

Michael Joseph

He was recruited as a defensive specialist, but Michael Joseph of Anchorage is showing Pacific University in Oregon he can do much more.

The 6-foot-1 guard is among the team leaders in points, rebounds and assists while maintaining his reputation as a defender.

Joseph, of West High fame, has reached the 20-point plateau twice and is averaging 10 points through the first 10 games. He is first in free throws made, second in attempts.

He also ranks second on his NCAA D3 team and fourth in the Northwest Conference at 8.3 rebounds. He is the top rebounding guard in the league.

“I guess you could say I have a feel for where the ball is going,” Joseph said. “I get rebounds like a post.”

Three times he’s grabbed 10 boards or more, highlighted by his season-high 15 against Willamette.

“For me, I get happier when I get rebounds than when I score,” he said. “I especially get happy when I get an offensive rebound because those are the hardest ones to get.

“Most of the time it leads to points for my teammates because I get it and pass it back out.”

He is second on the team with 21 assists, twice getting as many as five in one game.

Oh, and he’s still making plays on defense is usually saddled with the responsibility of guarding the other team’s top scoring threat.

“I just don’t like to be scored on,” Joseph said. “Once someone scores on me it just makes me want to stop them and make sure they don’t do that again.”

As a sophomore, he was the defensive player of the year for Columbia Basin College.

The 205-pounder is strong enough to body up ball handers, quick enough to deny smaller guards and explosive enough to defend taller guards.

“I got a big body. Once they hit me they fall back and give the ball up and don’t look to score,” he said.

Pacific is 7-3 on the season with two heartbreak losses – one in triple overtime, another on a buzzer beater.

“We have a good team. I love it here,” Joseph said. “I didn’t know how much I would like it here, but I love it. The coaches are cool, my teammates are fun. We’re all basically a family.”