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Cody Joyce, former Southern forward, commits to Houston Baptist

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Cody Joyce received a harsh introduction to the cutthroat world of college basketball recruiting less than a week after he accepted his first Division I scholarship offer.

Fresh off an official visit and commitment to Marist last June, Joyce returned to his Anne Arundel County home only to get the news two days later that the Red Foxes had rescinded his scholarship offer

“That was a low point. That was a really low point,” Joyce said Thursday. “But it's one of those things where the next day I was like, 'Alright, I'm going to figure out where I'm going to go next and pretty much prove that the [Marist] AD made a bad decision in taking that [scholarship] away from me.'”

The next step for Joyce, a 2011 Southern High graduate, was to enroll at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia, join the school’s powerhouse prep basketball program, and work toward landing another DI offer. On Wednesday, Joyce’s dedication to the game paid off when he signed with Houston Baptist.

“It feels great,” Joyce said. “I was [lying] in my bed before I made my decision [Wednesday] night, just thinking about all the things I went through and how the opportunity presented itself. [The Houston Baptist coaches] want me to play pretty much right away, whereas other schools I wouldn't have played as much. They just love me down there. I built a great relationship with Coach [Ron] Cottrell. We pretty much hit it off after that.”

Joyce, who went to Massanutten with fellow Southern grad Bryan Harris (Wofford), started receiving DI inquiries early in his post-grad tenure. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward helped Massanutten to the National Prep Elite Eight, where the Colonels fell to Brewster (N.H.) Academy. After the season, recruiting picked up considerably, with Colgate and “a couple military schools” expressing interest in Joyce. Houston Baptist, however, quickly emerged as Joyce’s most serious pursuer.

“Nobody directly offered to my face and put the papers in my hands like Houston Baptist did,” Joyce said. “They really liked me -- you could tell. They were shocked that I was still available at this time. [The coaches said], ‘We love how you play and we need a player like you.’ Those two sentences were the things that were an instant plus.”

Joyce visited the Great West Conference school this week and was impressed by the campus, its location in a major city and the basketball program’s plans for the future. Joyce, who’s considering a major in communications, said Cottrell sold him on being a major contributor to the Huskies right away.

“They want me to be a face-up 4 where I can play the wing and down low,” Joyce said. “I'll be a mismatch at 6-8. They asked if I can dribble the ball from the 3-point line in. When we did pickup the other day, I did it perfectly. They just think I can be an offensive mismatch and defensively I can play the 4 and the 5. They want me to be a rebounder and defenseman. They know the buckets will come.”

Joyce admitted that the situation with Marist led to him having “a huge chip on my shoulder.” The former Bulldogs star said Cottrell “loves that I have something to prove.” Joyce said he’ll never forget that disappointment of a year ago, but he has moved on and is ready to finally begin his college basketball career.

“It's really great,” Joyce said. “The feeling with Marist was a good feeling because that was my first real offer. I was excited. Now that I've had an offer, I know how college basketball recruiting really goes. It's just something I appreciate. I appreciate the AD in his decision at Marist. I wouldn't have ended up playing at Houston Baptist, where great things might happen in the near future."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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