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Wanto Joseph

Wanto Joseph

     O. Perry Walker's Joseph signs with Xavier
April 28, 2009

     NEW ORLEANS — Wanto Joseph, the diminutive and intelligent point guard who led O. Perry Walker High School to back-to-back appearances in the LHSAA Boys' Top 28 Tournament, signed a scholarship Tuesday to play men's basketball for Xavier University of Louisiana.
     Joseph is the fourth to sign with the Gold Rush for the 2009-10 season and the second from Louisiana.
     Joseph, who is 5 feet 9, led the Chargers to a 65-12 record the past two seasons and consecutive appearances in the basketball state semifinals for the first time in the history of the New Orleans West Bank school. As a senior Joseph averaged 16.7 points per game, made the Class 4A All-State second team and capped a career in which he was All-Metro New Orleans twice and all-district four times.
     Joseph will carry a 3.88 grade-point average into next week's final exams and "most certainly will wind up as valedictorian or salutatorian at graduation," said his coach, Brian Gibson. Joseph's sister Guerda was salutatorian of O. Perry Walker's 2007 graduating class and now attends Xavier's primary rival, Dillard.
     A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Joseph and his family moved to New Orleans in 1997. He spoke only Haitian Creole when he arrived in the United States but was determined to learn English — and excel in school.
     "The teachers always put your name on the board when you made good grades," Joseph said. "I always wanted to see my name on the board."
     As a junior Joseph averaged 15 points, was all-state honorable mention and helped the Chargers reach the Top 28, where they were the 4A runner-up, for the first time since the school's initial appearance in 1992. He averaged 15.1 points as a sophomore for a 25-10 team that reached the state quarterfinals, and in 2005 he received MVP awards in the Five-Star Basketball Camp and played for an AAU team which won the Division II state tournament and.
     "Wanto Joseph is incredibly tough," Xavier head coach Dannton Jackson said. "He is an excellent student and a big-time competitor. He knows how to win, compete and defend. He will bring a high level of toughness to our program."
     Joseph signed his scholarship with Xavier during a classroom ceremony which his coaches and teammates attended.
     "Xavier is the best choice for me," said Joseph, who said he is considering accounting or pharmacy as his major. "I'll have a chance to play right away. Their players embraced me. I felt like I had a home there. I want to get Xavier to that national level and help them win a national championship."
     Joseph will have the opportunity to replace at point guard the departed Shaun Dumas, another New Orleanian who was NAIA Division I All-America third team two of the past three seasons.
     "Wanto is an exceptional young man," said Gibson, who pointed out to his players that Joseph's signing with Xavier "is bigger than a ball. It could be worth $100,000 (in scholarship money over four years). In the big scheme of things, it's what you can keep with you the rest of your life, like a college degree, that matters the most."
     Signing with the Gold Rush earlier this month were 6-7 forward Denzell Erves of Vicksburg, Miss., and Vicksburg High School, 6-1 guard Brandon Morris of Sorrento, La., and St. Amant High School, and 6-5 guard DeRonn Scott of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Etiwanda High School
     Xavier is an NAIA Division I member which finished 19-12 in 2008-09 and tied for fourth place in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. The Gold Rush's 25 seasons of 20 or more victories are the most in the history of Louisiana men's collegiate basketball. Jackson's Xavier teams reached 20 victories in five of his first six seasons.

2009-10 Xavier Men's Basketball Recruits
Name Pos. Ht. Yr.* Hometown High School (College)
Denzell Erves F 6-7 Fr. Vicksburg, Miss. Vicksburg
Wanto Joseph G 5-9 Fr. New Orleans, La. O. Perry Walker
Brandon Morris G 6-1 Fr. Sorrento, La. St. Amant
DeRonn Scott G 6-5 Fr. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Etiwanda
* classification at Xavier in 2009-10.

 

 
Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's and women's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis.

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