Canada's Joseph waits for his chance, learns from Parker

The Canadian Press

2/15/2012 11:18:48 PM

TORONTO -- Cory Joseph must wait to earn his spurs.

Joseph was San Antonio top draft pick last year, but the 20-year-old point guard has a lot of learning to do before he gets a regular shift with the Spurs.

And the Toronto native knows it.

Joseph, who would be in his sophomore year if he had continued playing college basketball at Texas, already has spent eight days with Austin in the NBA Development League in January during this lockout-shortened season.

It wouldn't be surprising if he returns there for more playing time.

"The speed of the game is a step faster than in college," Joseph said after Wednesday's 113-106 win over the Toronto Raptors. "With the 24-second shot clock it's a lot, you have to adjust much quicker."

While Joseph doesn't play much, he watches and learns from the Spurs all-star point guard Tony Parker. Watching power forward and team leader Tim Duncan also is educational.

"It's an adjustment," Joseph said. "I know it's bigger than me, it's a team thing and I just have to stay mentally ready."

He is working with one of the NBA's top coaches in San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.

"He's a high character young man," Popovich said. "He's got a great work ethic and he wants to learn and he will learn. He's an easy person to have on the team."

Joseph said he valued his short time in the D-League.

"I didn't look at the D-League as a bad thing," he said. "Pop told me just to go down there and get some minutes and get some game experience. We only had a week of training camp and not a lot of practices.

"Everybody looks at the D-League like it's a bad thing but Austin was a good thing for me. They have a great coaching staff there. There are ex-NBA players and people with potential to be NBA players so it was good."

Joseph had only one chance to play on Wednesday, coming in with 3:20 play in second quarter when he replaced Parker for nearly three minutes.

He has been averaging about seven minutes a game.

"He probably just needs a chance to play," Popovich said. "He'll probably have more time in the D-League at some point this year I'm sure to give him that time, to get that experience."

Joseph spent his first two years in high school in Pickering, Ont. After leading Pickering to two consecutive provincial championships he moved to Henderson, Nev., where he attended Findlay Prep for the next two years.

He was joined there by forward Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont. Both went on to Texas.

Thompson was drafted in the first round, and fourth overall, last year by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Joseph was taken 29th overall.