Joshua Ola-Joseph, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound senior forward, committed to Minnesota last Monday after taking his official visit this past weekend. Ola-Joseph announced last week that he was transferring from Osseo to Prolific Prep in Napa, California.
Ola-Joseph is the third commitment from the Class of 2022 for new Gopher head coach Ben Johnson, all of them played their junior season in Minnesota.
Ola-Joseph averaged 16.7 points per game as a junior at Osseo, scoring in double figures in 18 of 20 games. He had five games of 20 or more points, including a season-best 30 versus Park Center.
Ola-Joseph averaged 13.5 points per game as a sophomore with a season-high of 36 points versus Coon Rapids.
Ola-Joseph had a strong spring and summer with the D1 Minnesota AAU program.
GopherHole caught up with Ola-Joseph Monday to learn the latest on his decision to transfer schools and expectations for his senior campaign.
GopherHole: You decided to transfer for your senior season to Prolific Prep. What was the reason you decided that was the move that you wanted to make?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: I been looking into prep schools. I personally wanted to go to a prep school, because I didn’t want to return back to Minnesota basketball. Minnesota has hoopers, but it’s just not the right competition I want. Also, in Minnesota, you can’t have the national schedule. I want to play really good competition to get ready for college. Guys that are going to push me. Be on a team where they take basketball really serious. I feel like at the school I was, we didn’t get as much work. The team didn’t take the game as serious as I wanted it to, so I feel like over here, we take the game really serious. We practice. Coach pushes us. It’s no joke over here. I feel like it is a good environment for me to get better.
GopherHole: I know that (fellow D1 Minnesota player) Cam Heide is going to a different school, too. Did that play a part in when he decided to do that, did you look at harder or were you thinking about doing that anyway?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: Oh, no. I’m worried about my dream. I’m not really worried about what Cam has got going on. He probably felt like that was best for him, also.
GopherHole: I don’t know how well you have gotten to know your teammates. You are on a very talented team. You have the number 15 senior, according to ESPN, the number 17, number 20 and number 35 senior.
Joshua Ola-Joseph: I’m not really into all the rankings stuff. We have a lot of dogs. They are humble, down to earth, so it is just going to make us play better. They work hard. They did feel like they have something to prove. They are dogs, so I feel like it is going to jell together and make us a winning team.
GopherHole: Not only are you going to be playing tough competition, but even practicing against those guys, is hopefully going to make you a better player, right?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: Yes.
GopherHole: How about the academic side of it? Was that something that you also thought would help you get ready for college, too?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: Yes. The academic side has a lot of one-on-one. The school is not that big, so a lot of one-on-one stuff. Get my GPA up. The academics should be no problem.
GopherHole: Any thought about things you might miss out on, like typical high school things like prom. Did that factor in it much or was it just the chance to get better a big part of the decision?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: Personally, I was just thinking, it’s not what I walk away from, it’s what I walk away with. I feel like I am walking away with way more connections. Outlets. People I can trust over here than walk away from like a prom or little things that are just nothing. I want to better myself. I feel like this is a place for me to better myself and focus.
GopherHole: Had you talked to the Gopher coaches much about the transfer?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: I made the decision on my own. I let them know, but it wasn’t like “Do you think this is a good move” type of thing. It was just like I’m going to be at Prolific next year.
GopherHole: I don’t know how well you have gotten to know your teammates, but I know that one is an Oregon commit and one is a Kansas commit, so you have a lot of national powers. Could you imagine a scenario where other schools would maybe try to recruit you, if you have a great year or are you pretty much locked into Minnesota?
Joshua Ola-Joseph: I’m locked into Minnesota. Anything can happen also, but I locked in. I’m committed, so I’m not really thinking about any other school recruiting me. A journey is never ending, so anything can happen.