Josh Christopher is about to start his encore EYBL season after turning in a standout sophomore year in 2018.
The 7th ranked recruit in the 2020 graduating class by 247 Sports, Christopher put up numbers rarely seen from underclassmen, averaging 19.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.6 steals in 20 games while splitting time with the LV Prospects and The Truth.
Christopher will be making the move to Vegas Elite (NV) in 2019, and he's coming in hot; Christopher averaged 25.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 3.2 steals in 32 games for Mayfair (CA) this past high school season.
We caught up with Christopher at USA Basketball, addressing a variety of topics about the young guard's goals, aspirations, and upcoming experience in the EYBL.
Q: We’re at USA Basketball. How excited are you to represent your country and how is this experience?
Josh Christopher: To put this USA on my jersey means a lot. Especially with me being here last July, I was that close to being on that team, I know it. I’ve never been a quitter, so I’ll be at these training camps until I put on this USA jersey and go to another country. That’s just my motivation, not making that team in July, it’s just something to go after.
With this camp, it’s different for sure with the Final Four stuff. Then coming off my high school season, it’s not as competitive as USA. So being out here to compete with these guys that are just as good as me, that means a lot.
You mention competitiveness, and that is definitely raised on the circuit. What’s the biggest difference for YOU between high school and EYBL?
JC: In high school, there are guys running at me the whole game, whether its in twos or threes for sure. In EYBL, everybody kind of gets to hold their own, you don’t see too many guys running zones or getting doubled. I think it’s a “hold your own” mentality in the EYBL, which is cool.
Talk about the decision to join Vegas Elite with your good friends Jaden (Hardy) and Julian (Strawther). How excited are you to run with them? How’s the chemistry?
JC: (laughs) We’re the big three, the three musketeers, whatever you want to call it. Ran with them last year, we didn’t make Peach but we won the PIT (Peach Invitational Tournament). We played some big games there, had some injuries. We dealt with a whole lot. I even got hurt in Atlanta, so that kind of messed up our chances of getting to Peach. So I think we just have something to go after again. I think we have one of the better teams with this being me and JuJu’s last year. And then Hardy is on the come up of course, and he can compete with anyone on the court. I think we have a great chance of winning Peach.
Does your game change at all playing around those guys?
JC: I feel like I’ve been able to be a leader and kind of set them up. Their jumpers are ridiculous, so I think I’m able to kind of set them up and be on the ball and just tell them “sit right here, pop out, and I’ll hit you.” I’ll take care of them. Taking on a point guard role for me has been different.
That started last year at the elite camps, you were at the tops of the assist leaders. I didn’t realize you were that good of a passer Is that a goal of yours, to be at the tops of EYBL in assists?
JC: Absolutely. Everywhere I’ve gone as far as basketball, since I started high school, it’s all about being versatile and being able to stand out. I think being able to make others better, rather than just myself, is really big for me. I’m not always the tallest guy on the court with all these 7-footers. I’m probably an undersized shooting guard right now in the NBA. If I can be able to mix it up to be able to be on the wing and be on the ball at the same time, that will really help me going forward.
If you have to pick one thing that needs to be there at the next level, what would it be when selecting a college to go to?
JC: Um, just a school that’s going to understand that I have a goal of going to the NBA. A player’s coach for sure. Someone that understands my dreams. Someone that can attend to my needs and the team’s needs as well.