Gophers basketball fans hoping to get an up-close-and-personal look at new 2022 recruit Joshua Ola-Joseph this year before he joins the team next season will have to settle for watching him from afar.
Ola-Joseph, who starred locally at Osseo last season, will play his senior year at Prolific Prep in Napa, he announced officially Friday. He has already started practicing at the prestigious California basketball factory, which will have games televised on ESPN.
“Prolific has a staff of coaches with a professional and college background and take player development very serious,” Ola-Joseph told the Star Tribune. “It’s like a college program. You can’t hardly find a place like this anywhere in the country. It was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Ola-Joseph won’t be the first Gophers recruit from Minnesota recently to finish his high school career at prep school out of state. Alexandria’s Treyton Thompson, currently a freshman on the team, played at La Lumiere in Indiana his junior and senior year.
Next chapter 💍🏆 pic.twitter.com/H9AHmq8h7u
— Joshua Ola-Joseph (@show_time_josh) September 3, 2021
Among Prolific Prep’s alums since the program started in 2014 are former Apple Valley and Duke standout Gary Trent Jr., and former NBA G League Ignite star Jalen Green, who was the No. 2 pick in the this year’s NBA Draft.
Last season, Ola-Joseph led Osseo with 16.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, but he had no Division I offers until a breakout summer playing AAU for D1 Minnesota. He committed to the home state Gophers earlier this week over Clemson and Loyola-Chicago.
“I got a lot of love from the state, the Gophers staff, and my parents,” Ola-Joseph said Friday about the feeling after his commitment. “It was relieving to get the recruitment process off my back. And now I can focus on my academics, my skill set, and changing my body.”
The 6-7, 215-pound senior has been projected by some recruiting services as a power forward in college, but Ola-Joseph made very clear that his best position will be on the wing for the Gophers.
A big reason he’s transferring to Prolific Prep is to be able to continue to showcase and expand his perimeter game.
“A lot of these articles are labeling me as a [power forward],” he said. “I’m not. I’m going to show a little bit more versatility and shoot the ball more. I’m an aggressive basketball player. I got a lot to prove. I’m going to this prep year with a chip on my shoulder. I’m going to show my versatility to shoot the ball very well, [handle the ball] very well, and also be aggressive.”