Updated: Apr 1
For the next installment of the Q&A series, Pro Insight presents Josh Christopher, a five-star player in the 2020 class, from Lakewood, CA:
Pro Insight: You just finished your junior year of hoops at Mayfair Let’s talk about your season a little bit – what were your biggest takeaways from this year?
Josh Christopher: my biggest takeaway from this year was probably just finally winning with the guys that I’ve been playing with for the last three years. There were a lot of seniors on our team, so finally getting over the hump and winning a championship – you know, I’ve been saying I want a ring on my finger since my eight-grade year at Mayfair Middle School – so finally accomplishing that has definitely been the biggest achievement of my high school career.
PI: You won several 2018-19 awards, including Dream Team Player of the Year – which means the most to you and why?
JC: I don’t know – I haven’t really paid attention to a lot of those individual accolades. I’m grateful for all of them, but as a whole, us winning CIF means more than any other award and that’s what I’m most proud of. I’ll never forget that feeling. In the beginning of our championship game, my one-two punch guy Mikey (Ofoegbu) was snapping, he was going off. He had like 12 in the first six minutes of the game and he was our MVP. The run we made to get that ring means more to me than any individual accolades.
PI: Out of all the guys you matched up with this year, who was the toughest?
JC: I can’t pinpoint a person, but I would for sure have to mention the whole Sierra Canyon and Mater Dei basketball teams – both teams definitely gave me the toughest time this year, sending two or three guys at me, making it really tough for me to score the ball.
PI: Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement? What’s the most underrated aspect of your game?
JC: I think my biggest strengths are for sure putting the ball in the basket, drawing defenders and finding open teammates. I’ve been working on my point guard ability, so I’ve been doing really well lately at finding my teammates, hitting them in the right spots, creating easy baskets. I’d say my biggest areas for improvement are for sure consistency on the perimeter, my defense and my overall motor. The most underrated aspect of my game is for sure my passing – I’m pretty sure it’s going to pop off and people will notice it this spring and summer, but right now it’s the most underrated part of my game. (*editor’s note: Josh was fifth overall in assists during the first EYBL session in Atlanta, so it’s safe to say his passing ability won't be underrated for long)
PI: Your older brother Patrick was quite the athlete, himself. What has he instilled in you over the years?
JC: He’s just instilled in me the importance of enjoying the game and its purity – just to have fun with the game before it comes a job. He’s taught me to trust the process. He’s also taught me to just be simple – cut out all the extra stuff I don’t need in my game and to just keep things simple.
PI: Three years down, one to go. What are your main goals you want to accomplish before your high school career is over?
JC: This past season, I feel like I fell just short of winning Gatorade National Player of the Year – that’s one accolade I felt I deserved, but didn’t get, so that’s for sure an award I’ll be going after and expecting after next year. I would love to win another state title, too.
PI: Why do you wear number 13? Is there a story behind that?
JC: That’s crazy that you asked that (laughs). So, my freshman year, I had the last pick when choosing our jersey numbers. I had to choose between 42, 21 and 13. I thought 13 looked the best on me out of all those, so I just went with it. It’s done a lot of good things for me, so I’m going to keep running with it.
PI: How has your experience been with USA Basketball over the past couple of years? You’ve participated in multiple Junior National Team Minicamps as well as U17 training camp, last summer – what has all that been like?
JC: In high school, it’s not every day you get to step out on the floor with four other basketball players that are all in the top-10 – you just don’t see that often – it’s a rarity. The only time that really ever happens is with USA Basketball. So, just being able to play with guys of that caliber that are just as good as myself, building relationships with them and stuff like that, that’s what it’s all about. Just having the opportunity to travel across the globe and play for your country, I think that means a lot as well.
PI: Your most recent USA Basketball experience took you to the Final Four in Minneapolis where you got to play against a lot of the top players from the NBA Global Academies – how did that event go?
JC: It was really cool. Playing all of the academies kind of gave you the feeling of traveling around the world to different countries. We were playing against Latin America, Africa, China, and just getting after it – everybody was representing their part of the globe.
PI: Which players have stood out to you or impressed you the most during your time with USAB?
JC: I’m always impressed with B.J. Boston. I’m also always impressed with Sharife Cooper – I think he’s really starting to make a name for himself with all the awards he got this year and leading his team to state. Jalen Green – we’re both from California and that’s like my brother – we’re always competing and talking trash. I’ve always been impressed with his game and what he does on the court. There are definitely more guys, but those are just off the top of my head.
PI: What are your goals on the EYBL circuit, this spring?
JC: To win Peach Jam. I think we have the best team on the circuit, right now. I think going to Peach Jam and winning it would be a huge stamp on my high school career.
PI: You have some time to figure it out, but down the line as you prepare to make your college decision, what are some of the top things you’re looking for in a school?