Joey Wallace: “The ultimate reason I came here is to win a championship”
Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter
Joey Wallace came to Southern with one goal in mind, and that’s to win a championship.
Wallace had other schools that were interested in him, but Southern had everything he was looking for.
“The ultimate reason I came here is to win a championship,” said Wallace. “I knew Southern had the team and coaching staff to do it. I could have gone to other schools and been ‘the man’ or whatever but I wanted to be a part of something special.”
The freshman forward is already making an impact on the team, averaging 6.7 points per game and shooting 66 percent from three. Wallace’s minutes vary from game to game, but when he’s on the court, he tries to make the most of them on the defensive side.
Wallace really prides himself on his defense and ever since coming to Southern, he thinks it’s gotten better because of who he gets to compete with at practice.
“Going against Mike Mallory and Desmond Williams everyday in practice is definitely helping my defense out,” said Wallace. “Those are two of the better players in our league so trying to play defense on them helps me. I’m going to learn a lot from them.”
Mike Mallory, a Third-Team All Northeast-10 selection last year, is one of the better offensive players in the conference. Mallory sees a lot of different traits in Wallace that can make him an exceptional defender.
“Joey works hard, has great awareness, and accepts challenges. That’s why he is really good on defense,” said Mallory.
Wallace received some of these traits from his father, John Wallace, who played in the NBA for seven seasons. Wallace said that his father helped him with even more than just becoming a good basketball player.
“My dad helped me develop as a basketball player but much more as a man,” said Wallace. “Basketball is important to him but he always taught me it’s not all about basketball and that there’s always life outside of basketball. He’s always there for me.”
Wallace takes some of the lessons he’s learned from his dad onto the basketball court. Scoring and putting up big numbers always looks good, but Wallace is more concerned with the effort he puts forth.
That’s why when Wallace was asked what NBA player he would compare himself to, he said Rajon Rondo.
“I would say I’m like Rondo because he works hard and dives on the floor for loose balls,” said Wallace. “That’s the kind of player I am, I give it all I got and if there’s ever a loose ball on the ground, I’m going to dive for it.”
When a freshman shows this kind of effort, upperclassman are going to take notice. Mallory has said that Wallace had no problems coming in and getting along with the team.
“Joey is fitting in great. He’s real funny and jokes a lot. He loves dancing in the locker room and guys think it’s hilarious so he is jelling pretty well. All of our freshmen work hard,” said Mallory.
Wallace said that his father was one of the best shooters he’s ever seen and that carried over to him. Wallace hopes his hot-shooting continues as he’s shooting 58 percent early on in the season.