Kendall Joseph has grown with the rising Brookwood program into the team’s leader and best scorer. (Staff Photo: Ben Beitzel)
SNELLVILLE — Kendall Joseph lived at the bottom.
A rising talent in the Brookwood basketball program, Joseph spent his sophomore season watching most of the varsity action from the end of the bench. He played sparingly, but suffered along with his older teammates during Brookwood’s 6-20 season. Even now, he remembers the win total.
“My sophomore year we only won six games. Ever since then we’ve just been going up which is good,” Joseph said. “It’s good to see that you are progressing. It shows that we’ve worked hard. We’ve come a long way. That is what I like to see.”
Brookwood’s success tracks with Joseph’s development. After averaging 4.5 points his sophomore season, the natural scorer upped that to 11.2 as a junior. This year it’s 16.6.
“I’m mainly a scorer,” said Joseph, who scored 30 against Central Gwinnett in the teams’ first meeting this season. “That is my first objective. I like to pass as well, I rebound too. I work hard, that is where it starts, I work hard.”
Joseph champions the idea of hard work, repeating “Hard work pays off” enough times it rings as a personal mantra for the senior wing. Along with AAU basketball games and practices and the high school team schedule (not to mention classes and homework), Joseph works out with trainer, Sam Allen of Blue Collar Basketball, in his remaining free time. This offseason he worked on his jump shot and 3-point accuracy to add an extra threat to his scoring prowess.
“He has helped me a lot. I think he is one of the best trainers in the state,” Joseph said. “The only reason I am doing good is hard work. I learned that the hard way, hard work pays off.”
Brookwood head coach Daniel Bowles smiles when he hears Joseph’s favorite part of basketball is scoring. Bowles watched Joseph grow into his current skills. He watched him struggle with the limited success both as a team and individually in that sophomore season.
“He was always the most athletic kid, he was always really good,” Bowles said. “He’d go out in a ninth grade game and score 20. Now you go out and you are playing with kids two years older than you, it’s frustrating. I think for him, it didn’t really wear on him.”
It hurt Joseph’s confidence the sophomore season struggles, but not his resolve or the support of his parents. Particularly father Brad Joseph.
“My dad, he is the type of person he will talk to me a lot until I get it,” Joseph said. “He is very motivational. I come from a family where everybody is grinding, grinding, grinding. Hard work, then hard work pays off. That is kind of the message.”
Clearly, one Joseph received.
“Kendall has gotten better every year,” Bowles said. “Statistically, we sat down before this year and the jump he made from sophomore to junior year was big and now from his junior year to his senior year it’s been even bigger. He’s worked really, really hard. He’s gotten so much bigger, so much stronger. He’s working a lot harder in the classroom. He’s just a good kid to have around.”
Joseph mostly grew up in the Brookwood portion of Snellville, moving to Gwinnett from Stone Mountain. He played football like a proper Bronco, but hurt his groin before high school and turned all eyes to basketball.
“I am a better basketball player for one. After getting hurt and I was better at basketball, I just thought I’d better stick to my sport. We are more a running (football) team,” the former receiver said. “I love it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else other than in this cluster.”
He’s not certain about college, but knows he wants to study business and finance. Whether it’s classwork or basketball, Joseph believes in his abilities. It’s a belief built on a foundation of work.
“I am that kind of person where if I know that I am the best, I feel like I am the best, that is just how I am,” Joseph said. “Even if I am stopped, I am going to keep coming. That is what I feel everyone needs to have, that drive that they are going to succeed.”