nelly junior joseph
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Nelly Junior Joseph was the best player on the floor when Iona knocked off Alabama

Nelly Junior Joseph is a new name for a ton of college basketball fans around the country. Thanksgiving Day was Junior Joseph’s first big moment on a national stage.

Iona upset previously ranked No. 10 Alabama in the ESPN Events Invitational. The Gaels never let Bama build a large enough lead to pull away and Junior Joseph was the star of the night.

Not only was Junior Joseph the best player for Iona, but he was the best player on the floor, period. Alabama has four or five guys who will wind up playing in the NBA someday, including two guys who made ESNY’s latest 2022 NBA Mock Draft. But all that talent on Iona couldn’t slow down Junior Joseph, who had 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and four blocks.

However, his real impact can’t be explained away in a box score. Iona started to change the momentum in the game through Junior Joseph’s perimeter defense. Even Alabama’s shifty guards couldn’t shake the 6-foot-9 big man in space.

He followed that standout night with another double-double to Belmont and 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting against Kansas, both losses.

Despite the two losses, the damage is done. Junior Joseph is showing improvements after a promising freshman season. The scary part is his game still has a long way to go. Rick Pitino has a budding star in the frontcourt. The rest of the MAAC is on notice.

ESNY’s Metro CBB Player of the Week:

  • 11/23 — George Papas, G, Monmouth
  • 11/30 — Nelly Junior Joseph, F/C, Iona

Local Games This Week

Tuesday, Nov. 30

Siena @ Army — 7:00 p.m. ET
Manhattan vs. Fairleigh Dickinson — 7
Rider @ Ole Miss — 7:30
Rutgers vs. Clemson — 9

Wednesday, Dec. 1

Iona vs. Marist — 7
Seton Hall vs. Wagner — 7

Friday, Dec. 3

St. John’s vs. Kansas — 7
Rutgers @ Illinois — 7
Iona vs. Rider — 7
Quinnipiac vs. Saint Peter’s — 7
Siena vs. Manhattan — 7
Niagara vs. Monmouth — 7
Canisius vs. Fairfield — 7

Saturday, Dec. 4

Seton Hall vs. Nyack — 12

Sunday, Dec. 5

Canisius vs. Monmouth — 1
Niagara vs. Fairfield — 1
Saint Peter’s vs. Siena — 2
Rider vs. Marist — 2
Manhattan vs. Quinnipiac — 2
St. John’s vs. Fordham — 7

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.