Q&A With Adrian Joseph
Adrian Joseph is a 6-7 senior forward from San Fernando, Trinidad. He played basketball at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J., and at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., before coming to Virginia. A co-captain this season, Joseph has played in more than 100 games for the Cavaliers during his career. After 20 games this season, he was averaging 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Joseph has consistently ranked among the top 10 rebounders in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. He has had five double-doubles in points and rebounds in 2007-08 and has double figure rebounds in six games. Joseph had 16 rebounds, a career high, against Seton Hall. A fine long-range shooter, he ranked ninth on Virginia’s career three-point field goals made list through 20 games this season with 145.
Question: How did you end up going to school and playing basketball in the United States coming from Trinidad?
Joseph: “They had a basketball clinic in Trinidad and there were a few scouts and coaches from American high schools. I was 14 years old and probably the youngest player at the camp. I did pretty well at the camp and they offered me the opportunity to come to America, attend high school and play basketball.”
Question: Were the winters a shock?
Joseph: “Oh yes, definitely. The only thing I knew about the winters was what I saw on television and the people’s reaction. Besides that, I had no experience with winter.”
Question: Do you get back to Trinidad very often?
Joseph: “I try to go when I can, which is usually a couple of weeks during the summer. I try to save my money and buy my ticket so I can go there.”
Question: You enjoy cooking, how did you get started?
Joseph: “In Trinidad, my friends and I used to get together, everyone would bring something and we’d cook outside. The weather is nice so we used to cook outside behind the house and under a tree. It’s something I’ve always loved doing, I got used to it and became good at it.”
Question: What’s your best dish, your favorite dish?
Joseph: “I’ve got a lot of dishes and I like a lot of curry dishes.”
Question: “You also sketch. Did you study sketching and drawing at all or is that something that came naturally?
Joseph: “I took classes in Trinidad and in the U.S. It is something I enjoy doing. It takes my mind off stuff. While doing it at a younger age I became pretty good at it and I just stuck with it.”
Question: “Do you sketch mostly for fun, enjoyment and relaxation? Do you give your work to folks?
Joseph: “If I saved all the drawings I did I would have so many. Every drawing I did someone would like it and I’d give it to that person. It’s something I love doing in my free time and it takes my mind off things.”
Question: Soccer is popular in Trinidad. How did you end up playing basketball and did you play soccer?
Joseph: “I did play soccer. As a kid growing up in Trinidad, kids played every sport depending on the season. If it’s basketball season you played basketball, if it’s soccer season you played soccer, if it’s cricket season you played cricket. I started getting better in basketball and at the same time I started getting taller. I was taller than all of my friends and as time went by I became much better than they were. That’s when I saw the scouts from America which led me to where I am today.”
Question: You mentioned cricket. Did you play cricket?
Joseph: “Yes, that was one of my favorite sports and I was pretty good. I used to love soccer the most, then I started liking cricket and basketball was last. I definitely loved playing cricket.”
Question: You mentioned kids played sports depending on the season. Is that how you started playing basketball?
Joseph: “While I was playing basketball I started getting much better than everybody else. Plus, we had a basketball coach that lived in our area and we had no other sport coaches. I became close to him and just stuck with basketball after that.”
Question: What is your favorite kind of music?
Joseph: “I love soca music and reggae. They are my two favorite kinds of music. Soca is calypso and that’s what I listen to the most, but I listen to every kind of music.”
Question: Your rebounding average is up dramatically this season. What’s the difference for you this season as compared to past seasons from that standpoint?
Joseph: “I think it’s a sense of urgency. Ever since I came to the University I thought I was a pretty good player. What I’m doing now I think I could have been doing since my first year. I don’t think I had the experience and the mentality. Now it’s a whole different mentality. I learned that from Coach Leitao and I’m trying to take advantage of that.”
Question: You are one of the team’s co-captains this season. How do you feel you’ve adapted to more of a leadership role this season?
Joseph: “I thought I was a leader last season also, but there were other leaders like J.R. (Reynolds), Jason (Cain) and Sean (Singletary). I learned from them and their leadership skills. With J.R. and Jason leaving, I knew I had to step up and be a leader. This season I’ve been trying to lead in any possible way I can, whether it’s by action or by words.”
Question: You are known for your long range shooting. How did that become such an integral part of your game?
Joseph: “I honestly have no clue. When I was in high school I was always known for driving to the basket. I never took as many jump shots as I’ve taken in college. I would take a few jump shots, but in my mind I always wanted to drive and dunk. I weigh 200 pounds now and at that time I was 189 or 190 and I used to jump out of the gym. That’s all I wanted to do every game was just dunk. I started working on my jump shot in college because there were much bigger players than me and I wasn’t going to be dunking on everybody. It’s just something I worked on and I became good at it.”
Question: This has been a difficult stretch for the team and there are difficult Atlantic Coast Conference games remaining. How does the team go about getting things turned around?
Joseph: “We just need to focus and as a team be more mature and understand the situation. You need to stay poised, don’t give up and just stay confident. If you lose a game, just come back out and look forward to the next game. Go with the mindset of winning that game and not looking back.”
Question: Have your folks or your siblings (three sisters and one brother) been here to see you play in college?
Joseph: “No one in my family has ever been to the United States. I don’t think they’ve seen me play basketball, even when I was in Trinidad. My mom and dad don’t even know much about the sport. I don’t think they know what a dunk or a jump shot is, so they have no idea.”
Question: Will they see you play before you finish up?
Joseph: “ I’m trying my best to see if I can get them to come for my graduation or my last home game.”
Question: If you could play one-on-one against anyone, who would it be?
Joseph: “Michael Jordan.”
Question: What do you hope to be doing next year?
Joseph: “Playing professional basketball somewhere.”