Joseph becomes QP’s all-time scoring leader

Before he ever enrolled in a class at Queen of Peace High School, Jeremy Joseph made a bold prediction.

On that day a little more than three years ago, Joseph looked up at a banner in the school’s gymnasium, honoring all the 1,000-point scorers that the boys’ basketball program had produced. Joseph saw the total of 1,418 points tallied by 1985 graduate Guy Indyk and promised to anyone within an earshot that he was eventually going to surpass that record.

It really was a bodacious statement that Joseph made as a skinny freshman. Considering all the great basketball players that have graced the school’s hardwood over the ages, Joseph really went out on a huge limb to say he was going to topple the all-time scoring mark, even before he played a single game.

However, just recently, Joseph made good on his prophecy.

By scoring 27 points in a 64-24 victory over Leonia on Feb. 18, Joseph surpassed Indyk as the all-time leading scorer among boys’ basketball players at Queen of Peace.

Of course, the all-time leading girls’ scorer is former Observer Female Athlete of the Year Courtney Keegan, who scored more than 2,000 points when her career ended in 2007.

But Joseph’s name will sit atop that banner in the school from now on. He lived up to his word.

“It was pretty difficult, considering every year I had a different team and different philosophy,” said Joseph, who will also graduate among the top 10 students academically in the QP Class of 2016.  “Eventually people in the league knew about me and tried to lock me down and keep me from scoring. But I stayed at it and worked hard.”

Joseph said that his teammates knew that he was coming close to the record.

“My teammates all knew and started looking for me more recently,” said Joseph, a 6-foot-3 forward who has had to play all five positions during some point of his career with the Golden Griffins. “I realized this year how valuable my teammates were.”

Joseph was asked if he could possibly break the record on Senior Night at QP, where the school honors all the graduating seniors.

“Coach (Christian) Boyce told me that it would be nice to break the record on Senior Night,” Boyce said. “I needed 23, so I was a little nervous that I might not get it that night. But I kept making my shots.”

Boyce said that it’s made his job in his first year of return as head coach at his alma mater much easier, having a player like Joseph to call upon.

“Especially with a very young team, he’s the only who scored a varsity point before this year,” Boyce said. “So it definitely helps. He’s very emotional. You could see that he wanted this. The comfort level was a bit different for him with this team, because he’s just playing basketball. He’s not worried about doing everything now, because our team changed so much. He doesn’t have to be the total focal point anymore. We can put him inside or outside, it doesn’t matter because we have a good team around him.”

Boyce said that it actually helped Boyce’s pursuit of the mark having a team filled with freshmen and sophomores.

“This year, he accepted the role of being the leader,” said Boyce, who returned to his position of head coach this season after a four-year hiatus. “The kids all look up to him. I think when he got the record, the other kids were happier than he was. I think it showed how much he means to these kids.”

“I think it allowed me to develop as a leader to have so many teammates with excellent basketball IQs,” Joseph said. “I had to adjust to play with the new players, but I realized how valuable it was having a team around me.”

Joseph was asked what the record meant as his high school career winds down to a precious few games. The Golden Griffins qualified for the state playoffs and have a first round game with Newark Academy set for Tuesday in a NJSIAA Non-Public B doubleheader with the QP girls’ team. After than that, it all depends upon winning and advancing.

“It means a lot having the record, because I now know that I’ll be leaving so much to this program,” Joseph said. “I’ll leave my mark. People will say that Jeremy Joseph was a great basketball player and a respectful student. It was always my goal to be the best.”

Joseph has also had to endure his fair share of physical turmoil during his career, suffering a broken nose last year and a collapsed lung the year prior.

But the record is his.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Joseph said. “I can’t wait to see my name up on the banner. I can always go into the gym and know I’m the all-time leading scorer. It’s really awesome.”
That is, until someone comes around and knocks Joseph from the top perch. Records are after all made to be broken.

Joseph doesn’t know what the future holds for him after Queen of Peace. Right now, Rutgers-Newark is the lone local school recruiting him, but Boyce has reached out to NCAA Division II schools in Florida, where the Joseph family plans to permanently relocate, in the near future.

“I know I can play at the next level,” Joseph said. “It’s just about finding the school that’s the best fit for me. Whatever fate is handed to me, I’ll accept.”

If Joseph had just one wish, it would be…

“I wish I could come into this program now as a freshman,” Joseph said. “Queen of Peace has an up-and-coming program with greater chances now to win.”
It wasn’t so bad this season, as the Golden Griffins won their league title and Joseph became the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“Not a bad senior year,” Boyce said.


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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”