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  • 04 September 2019
    TORONTO -- Cory Joseph has worn a lot of uniforms this year. [b]Taysom Hill Jersey[/b] . There was his San Antonio Spurs uniform for the regular season. Then there was the Austin Toros uniform that came after he called Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to suggest going down to the D-League affiliate to get some more game experience. Then came San Antonios uniform with the NBA Finals patch on it when the team played and ultimately lost to the Miami Heat in June. Now there is the white and red Canada uniform hell wear when representing his country in the upcoming FIBA Americas. "This year has definitely been a roller coaster," Joseph said. "Its been fun. Ive gotten to meet a lot of people, learn a lot of things from different angles. Ive been a sponge, soaking it all up. Just trying to improve my game." Drafted with the 29th pick by the Spurs in 2011, Joseph has worked his way into the rotation with a lot of after-hours work, a commitment to defence and a willingness to recognize when he needed more in-game experience. When he wasnt getting the time needed to develop his skills, Joseph suggested a trip to the D-League where he would be able to play and iron out the kinks in his game. While many players look at a D-League assignment as a demotion, Joseph saw it as an opportunity to hone his craft and was grateful for it. "I didnt know it was going to get this much publicity, you know?" Joseph said. "Every reporter probably asked me that. Every single one asked me about the decision I made. At the time I didnt know it would be this big." Joseph added he didnt think the Spurs would forget about him. "They watch, they want me to learn," said the Pickering, Ont. "It was an investment. I was just working. I was working and when I got my opportunity, whenever it was, that year, the next year, Id be able to capitalize and feel like I was ready." To go from the D-League affiliate to playing meaningful minutes in the NBA Finals is quite the trip. Luckily for the Spurs, Joseph is an unflappable 21-year-old. Quick to point out that "everybody remembers the winner" when talking about the Finals appearance, Joseph said he cant wait to experience the Finals again. "Playing on the biggest stage in basketball, in the world, nobody could ask for more," he said. "Obviously we were excited, happy, anxious, dialled in, focused, all of the emotions you could possibly think of, we were feeling. I mean, at the end, all of them. Mad, sad, all of it at once." Despite the strong finish to his sophomore season, Joseph knows there is plenty of room for improvement in his game and said he is honing in on his shooting and leadership skills this summer. While Joseph has been involved with the Canadian basketball program since 2008, he couldnt help but smile when talking about what he perceives to be a renewed interest in the sport north of the border. "Kids realize they have different options now and they realize that it can actually happen," Joseph said. "Weve always had talented people, but I think Tristan (Thompson) and I being the first guys to get drafted in the first round together that opened some eyes." When Anthony Bennett made history as the first Canadian to be drafted No. 1 in June, Joseph was in front of the television. "To see him go first, I was excited," he said. "Knowing Anthony, knowing his family, hes got a good family, I was excited for them. Knowing the pressure that goes with it, the pressure and responsibilities, hes up for it. Hes ready. Hell work hard and when the time comes, hell be ready to play." Head coach Jay Triano is hoping the same will be said about his team after they fly to Florida on Friday for four more days of practice before travelling to Puerto Rico for the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup next week. After the team finishes in Puerto Rico, the real test will begin when they gets to Venezuela for the FIBA Americas from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. The top four tournament teams qualify for next years FIBA World Cup in Spain. [b]Morten Andersen Womens Jersey[/b] . Liriano pitched in and out of trouble in his duel with Josh Beckett, and Ike Davis homered to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Friday night. [b]Marshon Lattimore Youth Jersey[/b] . Bayern led second-place Leverkusen by 10 points with a game in hand, while Dortmund was another four points off the pace. Freiburg midfielder Felix Klaus scored in the last minute as his side twice came from behind to climb provisionally out of the relegation zone.There are likely two safe bets when it comes to the 2014 CFL Draft; offensive linemen will dominate the early selections, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will look to solidify one of their most glaring positional needs with the second-overall pick. According to the CFL Scouting Bureaus January rankings, four of the top five Canadian prospects line-up on the offensive side of the trenches, which is good news for Bombers general manager Kyle Walters. With only one selection in the first two rounds — Walters sent his second-round pick to Saskatchewan in the days ahead of the 2013 trade deadline — the No. 2 pick is an opportunity to grab one of three top O-line prospects who are expected to play professionally in Canada. The No. 1-rated athlete overall, offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif out of McGill, is not attending this weekends CFL Combine in Toronto, opting instead to hold his own pro day in Montreal for both NFL and Canadian scouts. This leaves Laval University centre Pierre Lavertu as a very likely target for either the expansion Ottawa Redblacks who select first overall, or for the Blue Bombers. Lavertu would be an attractive choice for Winnipeg with the free agent departure of starting centre Justin Sorensen this past winter. "(I am a) centre, so it will help then if Im going to be a centre at the next level," said the 6-foot-3 300-pound All-Canadian. "But if I have to play guard or something like that, Im going to do it." Lavertu is both confident and aware of the two teams who may call his name on May 13. "I figure that will happen. Its going to be cool if Im drafted by one of those teams. I watch a lot of the websites of Winnipeg and Ottawa just to learn more about these teams." The offensive lineman that may have the most to prove during Combine weekend is 6-foot-4 294-pound Matthias Goossen out of the non-CIS school Simon Fraser. "I want to make sure that whatever I do here solidifies what Ive done in the season, and it can help show more athleticism — how I compare to guys in the CIS game, because obviously all these guys here I havent played against at all. So it would great to compare myself to these guys and sort of show myself and prove my worth, and obviously continue to make myself look better for the scouts." Goossen made a huge leap in the Bureaus rankinggs in just four months, moving from No. [b]Erik McCoy Jersey[/b]. 15 up to No. 5 once more scouts and CFL team reps could see what he was capable of. The Combine is an opportunity for him to cement those assessments. "I think the biggest thing, like everybody knows, is the one-on-ones and showing how to compete and showing how I actually play because when it comes down to it, theres no bench press on the field." Goossen played every position on the offensive line over the past four years at SFU, but feels his body-type is an ideal fit for the centre position at the pro level. A third potential option for the Blue Bombers, if they desire an O-lineman with their first pick may not fill their vacant centre spot, but he is quite hard to ignore. David Foucault stands 6-foot-8 and weighs in at 320 pounds. "I played tackle last year, but two years ago I played guard. I can play on both sides — guard and tackle — left and right… If a coach asks me what do you prefer? I prefer tackle. But I just want to play football. If you put me at guard, I will play guard. I just want to play professional football, and thats why Im here." While the CFL Combine measures many things, the versatile 24-year-old out of Montreal University feels language may be the most critical area for him to work on. "Thats why I went to Florida for training because all the stuff (at the Combine) is in English. When I came to Florida my first week, I was very bad in my English. I need to practice every day… If a scout or a coach wants to do an interview in French I will say no, I need to practice my English." Another concern for the No. 3-ranked prospect could be his physicality, as Foucault may stand prominent, but he has been known to play smaller than his stature and lack finish when engaging defenders. "(Im looking most forward to) the one-on-ones because in the combine in Tampa (Florida) I did all the tests and some drills. Some mirror drills and O-line drills. But maybe the one-on-ones I need to do well in that (this weekend). For all my tests I need to be consistent or do better." *N.B. Winnipeg traded their 2014 second-round selection along with import defensive end Alex Hall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in exchange for non-import offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld and a 2015 fourth-round selection. ' ' '