Sept. 12, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — During his time at Kentucky, Ole Miss first-year head coach Matt Insell helped develop two SEC Freshmen of the Year. And that's the goal for all four freshmen on this year's roster. Among them is Shequila Joseph, who represented her native Great Britain and England in European competition this past summer.
"In terms of freshmen that I have coached, I was lucky enough to have coached two of the last four SEC Freshmen of the Year," Insell said. "She's on that level of talent. Will she work hard enough to reach that level? That's yet to be seen.
"But in terms of talent and natural God-given ability, she is at the same level as those players that I have coached that were SEC Freshmen of the Year, and one of them went on to be an SEC Player of the Year."
Joseph played for two teams this past summer, Great Britain's U20 national team and England's U18 national team.
"Representing her country and playing internationally this past summer was something that was important to her during the recruiting process, which became very important to me because I wanted her to be able to do that," Insell said.
"The experience that she gained on the basketball court was second to none. She played against older ladies that were sometimes four to five years older than her. She was able to compete against those stronger ladies, which is going to help her play in the SEC."
Her summer started with Great Britain at the U20 European Championship Division B in Bulgaria, where she led the team with 10.3 points per game and helped her team to a 2-6 record and eighth-place finish.
She scored a tournament-high 20 points and grabbed a tournament-high 10 rebounds for her first of two double-doubles and hit the game-winning shot with three seconds left to lift Great Britain to a 69-67 win over Bulgaria.
Joseph then represented England at the U18 European Championship Division A in Croatia, the country’s first time competing at the highest level of European competition.
She was second on the team in scoring (8.8 ppg) and led the team in rebounding (5.9 rpg) despite averaging just 19 minutes per game, which ranked seventh on the team. She helped her team to a 2-7 record, with wins over Slovakia and Belarus.
"I got better playing against the best players in the world, and I played a lot of minutes so I was always playing against them," Joseph said of the experience. "I improved my 1-on-1 offense, being able to get past defenders and get to the basket."
Her scoring ability and overall offensive game has stood out to Insell, watching her play in England, and in international competition this past summer. At 6-foot-2, Insell said she's more of a guard and plays out of the floor.
"She fits perfectly in what we're trying to do," Insell said. "She's quick for her size. She has great foot speed and works very hard. There's so much that she can do offensively and defensively to change the game that will allow her to fit in with our fast-paced, up-tempo style of play.
"She can play the three or four position, and she can score it from the outside. She can go inside and post you up and score in the post. She has so many things that she can do with the basketball offensively that's going to make her a great threat."
Joseph has a lot of goals, Insell said, from showing everybody that she’s one of the better players in the country and one of the top freshmen in the country, to wanting to be one of the best players in the world eventually. As a team, Joseph said one of her goals this season is to help lead Ole Miss to the NCAA Tournament.
“She and I talk a lot about not trying to do it too fast, letting it come to her and letting it come naturally, and she understands that,” Insell said. “She's very motivated. She has a lot of high expectations, and one of the things that she told me during the recruiting process was that she wanted Ole Miss to be back where it was six years ago.
“And when she leaves this place, she wants to leave a mark on this place. That's something that she made very clear to me. I'm excited to see what mark she leaves on this program.”
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller