After a disappointing season for Redbirds basketball last year, McGill Athletics brought in reinforcements through the hire of former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Kris Joseph as the associate coach and recruiting contact. He will be the lead assistant coach of the team.
In an interview with //The Tribune//, Joseph expressed his excitement for the unique role that an assistant coach gets to play in the team.
“Being an assistant is definitely an intricate role,” Joseph told //The Tribune//. “For one, being the bridge between the head coach and the players, because sometimes players don’t like to ask too many questions.”
The new coaching role is a sort of homecoming for Joseph, who was born in Montreal and spent most of his childhood in the neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges. While growing up in Montreal, he played city basketball for Sun Youth and the Dawson Community Blues.
In his last two years of high school, Joseph made the life-changing decision to finish his education in Washington, D.C.—a choice that led him to receive a number of full-ride scholarships to play basketball at top National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools such as Georgetown and Clemson. Joseph ultimately decided to attend Syracuse University, appreciating its proximity to Montreal as well as its status as alma mater of Carmelo Anthony, one of Joseph’s all-time favourite players.
Having played basketball during his university years, Joseph understands the struggles that come with being a student-athlete, and feels that he is particularly suited to advise players who hope to play professionally.
“Knowing how to manage classes, practice, [and my] social life were all issues that I had to go through as a young man, so [I know] that these are problems they are going to encounter on their journeys to being successful basketball players,” Joseph said.
After graduating from Syracuse, Joseph was drafted 51st overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA draft. He played six games for the Celtics before he was waived. Later that season, Joseph signed with the Brooklyn Nets, playing four games before moving to Europe. He then continued his professional basketball journey in leagues across France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal while briefly returning to Canada in 2018 to play with the Niagara River Lions in the National Basketball League of Canada and the Ottawa BlackJacks of the Canadian Elite Basketball League in 2021.
Although moving to Europe was daunting at times, Joseph enjoyed his time playing overseas.
“[It’s important to] just embrace the culture you’re in and make the best out of every experience,” Joseph said. “You’re in a whole different country, a whole different part of the globe, so it’s just kind of embracing where you’re at [in] the moment.”
On advice for hopeful professional players, Joseph emphasized the need for a strong work ethic—adding that hard work in basketball translates well to skills needed in life outside of the sport.
“If you’re practicing to be a pro, you’re building good habits, […] that’s going to transfer to everyday life whenever you stop playing,” Joseph said. “Make sure you handle your business, which is to make sure you’re handling the school aspect of [being a] student athlete, and make sure you know that this is what you signed up for.”
Despite having played for the Celtics and the Nets, Joseph is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. He also supports the Montréal Canadiens, and once tried playing some hockey before realizing skating really was not his forté. Outside of sports, Joseph enjoys spending time with his family, and hopes to be there for pivotal moments of his kids’ lives—something he was unable to do while playing overseas.
With the Redbirds playing their first game of the RSEQ season on Nov. 2 at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Joseph has his focus set on the start of the season and is excited to continue to prepare with the team.