Wallace helps propel team to playoffs


Max VadakinContributor

As the season begins to grind towards its end, the Southern men’s basketball team is looking for an all-around effort to enter the tournament in full swing. One of these players giving it their all is senior guard Joey Wallace.

Wallace has played all four years at Southern, bringing a multi-faceted play style that has helped the team succeed. This year is no different, as the business management major is averaging 7.4 points per game and 4.6 rebounds a game off of 44.7 percent shooting.

“Joey’s the type of guy who does a little bit of everything well,” said head coach Scott Burrell. “It could be leadership one time, it could be playing defense, it could be making shots, taking charges. He’s ready to do all that little stuff.”

While Wallace’s on court contributions to the team help propel them forward, his on and off the court leadership plays a vital role in the team’s success as well.

“He gets on everybody. He expects the best out of everybody, so we want that from him, but he’s also a great teammate,” said senior guard Isaiah McLeod. “He picks you up whenever you’re down or whenever you might not be playing well. He keeps you going and helps you become the best player you can be.”

Wallace’s leadership has been one thing that cannot be wavered by injuries. Despite missing most of last season and the first seven games of this season, Wallace has always stayed optimistic.

“You just have to have a positive mindset. That’s my biggest thing, just being positive,” said Wallace. “Even when things don’t go your way you still have to keep that positive mindset.”

Wallace’s injury might have seemed like a setback to the team, but Burrell didn’t see it as too much of a setback for Wallace.

“He learned a lot last year and he watched our team struggle at times, but he was cheering our team on every game,” said Burrell. “And this year he came back and saw what was lacking and he tries to provide that every game.”

Even though Wallace’s talent was expressed at a young age, he refuses to take all the credit for it.

“My dad said I was going at a young age. They said I was dribbling by the age of two, so I just have to give it all to him,” said Wallace. “He had me in the gym at early ages. Working on things most young people my age wouldn’t be doing. I definitely give him credit when it comes to that.”

Wallace’s dedication and hard work towards the sport has been a lifelong effort. Now that he’s able to play NCAA basketball, his development has been on full display.

“His leadership is the most important thing he’s done. He brings positive energy every day to practice and a competitiveness that sometimes we lack,” said Coach Burrell. “I enjoy coaching him and every team needs a Joey.”

Wallace’s competitiveness and the effort he puts into the game is because he seems to have a genuine love for the game. In fact, he sees it as more than just a game.

“Basketball’s a very good sport to teach life lessons. That’s what coach tries to teach us every day. [He’s] not just teaching us basketball, he’s teaching us life lessons,” said Wallace. “If you come up lackadaisical and not ready to work and bring your A-game that day, then you’re not going to win. I think taking those life lessons and putting them into real life helps me potentially become a better man.”

Throughout his career, Wallace has learned a lot from playing for Southern for four years, and plans to bring it out into the world with him as he moves forward.

He was able to work basketball camps for the Junior Knicks this past summer, running clinics and camps around the area, and hopes to keep working with the organization after he graduates from Southern.

Even though Wallace’s career here at Southern is coming to an end, he doesn’t seem to regret any part of his time here.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here at Southern,” said Wallace. “It’s a great place, great people and I wouldn’t change anything.”

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