Spurs' Joseph 'learned a lot' from C's Bradley

Spurs' Joseph 'learned a lot' from C's Bradley
June 8, 2013, 11:30 am
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MIAMI — Cory Joseph is a young player on a veteran San Antonio Spurs team, so playing time isn't going to be plentiful, especially on the biggest stage of them all - the NBA Finals.

In San Antonio's 92-88 Game 1 win, Joseph played just two minutes - down from the 10-plus minutes per game he played in the playoffs coming into the Finals.

But when the moment comes to play, the 21-year-old Joseph will be ready - one of the many lessons he learned from his former prep school roommate, Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley.

There were many other lessons Joseph said he learned from being Bradley's roommate, on and off the court.

Joseph says the soft-spoken demeanor that Bradley exudes publicly, is how he is behind closed doors with friends.

"Real quiet," Joseph told CSNNE.com. "You gotta kick it out of him sometimes, to get him to say a word. But once he gets to know you better, he opens up a little bit, he's more talkative."

And as competitive as Bradley can be on the floor in winning his individual matchup, he's just as determined to come out on top when battling germs.

Yes.

Germs.

"Yeah, you can say he's kind of a germaphobe," quipped Joseph. "And there's nothing wrong with that. I like to take a shower twice a day, but Avery ... he might take three or four."

Joseph recalled there being times when they would just be hanging out and next thing you know, Bradley was off to the showers.

"Like I said, there's nothing wrong with that," Joseph said. "The man likes to be clean, all the time. It's a little different, but that's cool."

Even though they grew up miles apart - Bradley in Tacoma, Washington while Joseph is from Toronto - they have a connection in part because their journeys to being NBA players are similar on so many levels.

Both transferred to Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada after having already established themselves as elite high school players.

Each spent one year at the University of Texas before entering the NBA draft where they were each selected in the first-round.

"He's like my brother," Joseph told CSNNE.com.

More like twin brother when you throw in the fact that they play the same position and are both 6-foot-2 combo guards.

"I learned a lot from him," said Joseph, a cousin to former Celtics draft pick Kris Joseph.

Bradley, 22, was among the people Joseph talked to when he was deciding on whether to leave Texas for the NBA.

"He told me it's a process," Joseph recalled.

Part of that process for Bradley involved spending time in the NBA's D-League. That experience would prove invaluable for Bradley who was named to the NBA's All-Defensive team this past season.

In his first two NBA seasons, Joseph found himself spending time in the D-League as well.

But unlike most first-round picks, Joseph had no issues with toiling in relative obscurity in the league's minor league system.

In fact, there was a point in this season when he called head coach Gregg Popovich and requested that they send him to the D-League.

At that time, he was a practice player with the Spurs who knew on most nights, the chances of playing were slim to none.

"Being around these veterans is great," Joseph said. "But I just felt for my game to really get better, I have to play and the D-League was best way to make it happen. For me, the D-League was great."

Joseph was a D-League all-star with the Austin Toros, averaging 19.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 18 games.

That experience would soon prove invaluable for both Joseph and the Spurs when five-time all-star Tony Parker went down with an ankle injury and Popovich put Joseph into the starting lineup just days removed from being in the D-League.

Joseph's statistics as a starter for the Spurs - 7.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.2 rebounds - don't come close to Parker's numbers.

But his time as a starter helped on multiple levels.

It allowed him to play and thus gain more experience. It also gave him an opportunity to gain the trust and confidence of his head coach which is a challenge for young players - but especially those who play the point guard position.

"The best part about it was that we were winning, and I was part of that," said Joseph, who was 6-3 this season when in the starting lineup.

Joseph attributes his D-League experience as well as the example set by Bradley, as factors that allowed him to be a solid contributor when the opportunity to play presented itself.
 
 "He was grinding, just like I am now," Joseph said. "He's a great player. He showed me hard work does pay off. He's teaching me things all the time."