Leaving college early to take an unconventional route to the pros - with Josh Steel - Ep. 78 - Hoopsfix.com

Leaving college early to take an unconventional route to the pros – with Josh Steel – Ep. 78

For Episode 78 of the Hoopsfix Podcast we sit down with four year pro and GB Senior international Josh Steel.

Steel – currently playing in Spain’s LEB Silver – was a much heralded junior in the UK, starting on BA London Leopards title winning squad as a 14 year old, being selected as a starter in the Jordan Brand Classic international game, and being a part of the Barking Abbey Kent Crusaders squad that won NBL Division 1 men with a roster of all under-19s bar one.

Having represented the junior national team at U16, U18 and U20 level, he went to NCAA Division 1 school Duquesne but ended up leaving midway through his Sophomore year and ultimately deciding to turn pro the following season, signing his rookie deal with the Surrey Scorchers.

In this 1 hour and 20 minute episode, Steel goes into his journey so far and what he has learned.

Time stamps:

00:00 Introduction
2:37 Beginning of interview
2:42 Impact of COVID-19 on the end of his 2019-20 season in Spain
4:23 His thought process on leaving Spain and returning to the UK
5:33 Chasing unpaid wages and the process for getting missed pay cheques
6:49 How the lockdown has been for him and staying in shape
8:23 Whether his game has taken a step back due to the lockdown
9:53 How to prioritise what to work on during lockdown
11:45 How he approached this season and deciding where to play
13:39 The environment he needs to be in to excel
15:03 Making the transition to being a pro after leaving college early and if it has gone as he envisioned
18:32 Whether he ever thought about quitting basketball
19:28 How he compares the levels between Spain and the BBL
21:22 How a top BBL club would do in LEB Gold
22:03 Organisationally, off the court, how the leagues compare
23:02 How pre-season went for him this year
25:25 How LEB Silver is handling COVID-19 and whether there are a lot of cancellations
27:32 What made him first start playing basketball
29:01 The decision to go to Barking Abbey so young
30:34 The point he realised he was better than other players his age
31:27 Playing with a Division 1 Men’s side at 14 years old and its impact on his development
33:56 Whether he felt his was basketball IQ was higher than his peers from playing with men
34:55 Being a system player and why he needs to focus on his 1 on 1 game
36:09 Advice for his younger self in terms of his development
37:40 Winning the 2015 NBL Division 1 Men’s playoff title with only one player over 19
42:04 Standout memories from his time at Barking Abbey
42:50 The 2014 EABL title
43:57 The City of Palms Classic
44:36 Making the decision to go to the US and the recruitment process
48:47 Whether the recruiting process was a bit intense
49:53 Does the recruiting process feel fake?
50:20 What Duquesne had said to him during recruiting and the reality
52:40 Tough conversations with the coaching staff at college
54:16 How not playing affected him mentally
55:20 Why he decided to return after a tough freshman year
56:38 The circumstances around him leaving college and why
58:58 Deciding to come home instead of transferring to another college
1:01:30 Being a ‘freelance practice player’ on his return to the UK
1:02:23 His first pro contract with Surrey
1:04:12 Creon Raftopoulos giving genuine opportunities to young British players
1:05:08 How he found the BBL compared to his previous perception
1:06:31 Whether he felt he belonged in the BBL and was of the level
1:07:24 The biggest adjustments to pro life
1:08:37 Whether he was looking at the BBL as a stepping stone
1:10:00 Whether he thinks the BBL is changing
1:10:39 Giving young British kids a genuine opportunity in the BBL
1:12:34 What advice he would give to an 18 year old who was considering their options for college
1:13:54 How you know whether or not you will be given a big role in college
1:15:52 The best British junior player he’s played with or played against
1:16:34 Best coach he’s ever played for
1:16:45 What separate Lloyd Gardner as a coach
1:17:32 Single favourite basketball memory
1:17:46 Playing in the Jordan Brand Classic as a youngster
1:19:35 The future; what he wants to achieve in the next five years

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