Posted On: 02/5/18 2:34 PM
Champlin Park has won seven of their last eight and are coming on strong. Josiah Strong had 36 in a win over Park Center and then 16/7 in a win over Wayzata. Strong is working his way into the all state conversations.
“So far this season I would say things are going fairly well as a team,” Strong explained. “We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to, but that comes with a team with only two returning players and losing a lot of guys.
“As of late we have hit our stride and have been playing well. Personally things have been going well for me I have enjoyed having a new role and challenging myself to get better in other areas of my game.”
The Rebels had so much to replace early in the year naturally there was going to be some speed bumps. Losing three of their first five wasn’t a big surprise considering a new team was facing Minnetonka, Hopkins, and Minnehaha Academy in those games. But since that point the Rebels are 10-2 with a 12-5 record overall.
“Our outlook for our team is still one of expecting to win and go to state,” Josiah said. “We just have a winning culture at our school, so we expect to have a chance to win every game we play regardless of the opponent.
“We definitely lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, which has cause some growing pains. But we have some sophomores and juniors who are still talented returning.”
Josiah is scoring 22.4 points per game with 3.8 assists, five boards, and 2.4 steals a game. His all around game has taken a big step once his team found it’s chemistry.
“Some things that I am doing better at this point in my career or leading and becoming an all around player,” Strong said. “I have seen a lot of improvement in my playmaking ability and defense. In past years I was mostly just pictured as a shooter, but I have worked to develop my all around game.”
Remember, Champlin Park lost one game all year last season but seven of the top nine guys graduated. Josiah has been the team leader they’ve needed him to be.
“My individual goals are to be a better leader and continue to prepare myself for the next level,” Strong said. “Also be an All-State team member. Our team goals are to finish first in the conference and win out section to go to state.”
Josiah is also the latest Champlin Park player to commit to a division one program. He will join the growing Minnesota contingent at Navy (Tyler Riemersma and the Loehr brothers are freshmen at the school).
“I developed a great relationship with the coaching staff, and when I went on my visit I saw that it was a great place and a rare opportunity to get a top notch education and still play basketball at a high level,” Strong said of Navy.
“Also the style of play fits my game and gives me an opportunity to come in and contribute when I get there.”