By: Tyler Byrum
Maurice Joseph is one of the youngest coaches in Division I basketball. He’s entering his third season with the George Washington Colonials. And he’s still getting his feet wet. Joseph, 33, isn’t afraid to admit he’s still learning.
“I’ve grown a great deal,” Joseph told The Current. “I’m a guy who is always looking to learn and who is on the path to finding mastery. That’s never a destination. It’s always a journey. But I’m constantly picking the brains of head coaches who I know and trust and respect to make sure I’m always getting better.”
During Joseph’s first season at the helm, George Washington finished with a 20-15 record and advanced to the 2017 College Basketball Invitational. However, the Colonials struggled last season, finishing with a 7-11 conference record. It has been quite the journey for Joseph, who is only eight years removed from playing in college.
Back in 2016, the Colonials named Joseph the interim head coach after former head coach Mike Lonergan fell into controversy and was eventually fired. An assistant under Lonergan for five years and as a player for three, Joseph knew a lot about the program. George Washington named Joseph the official head coach in March 2017.
“I learned more in the first six months as a head coach than I did in the previous five years as an assistant,” Joseph said. “As a head coach there are so many hats you have to wear. You have to be able to delegate and trust your staff. Right now we have an unbelievable staff right now that is extremely committed to our student-athletes.”
Furthermore, Joseph earned the position by trusting his staff and believing in his players. Patrick Nero, George Washington’s former athletic director, lauded Joseph’s ability to connect with his players last year. His “energy, passion and vision” resonated with the athletes. Now, it’s not only about leading the players. Joseph is leading a staff, too.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a leader is delegating and trusting my staff to accomplish a lot,” Joseph said. “We’re able to really benefit from and take advantage of all our experiences to help this program move forward and ultimately win a lot of games.”
If there is one thing that hasn’t been a problem for Joseph, it’s winning games. He already amassed 35 total victories in two seasons. But the Colonials lost their top three scorers. But Joseph is confident about this current roster.
“We’ve had some talented guards in the past. But we’ve never had the depth that we are going to be able to develop over the next few years,” he said.
“We have multiple guys who can make plays for themselves and others, get their feet in the paint, play in ball-screens, catch and shoot, or catch and attack closeouts. We have the depth and personnel to play fast and to be interchangeable defensively, which is something we haven’t quite had the last two years.”
George Washington opens the season on November 6 at the Charles E. Smith Center against Stony Brook.