Sometimes the hardest thing at any level of basketball is finding your identity while playing with a superstar.
At Curie, the Stamps brothers, senior guard Joe and junior swingman Josh, are skilled and versatile players, especially at the offensive end. Still, the Condors’ 6-9 Kansas recruit Cliff Alexander has proven himself one the best players in the national senior class. His dominance tends to blot everyone else out.
“Josh and his brother are always in the shadow of Cliff,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said.
With Alexander serving a one-game suspension last Saturday in the Muskegon (Mich.) Classic Showcase, the Stamps brothers nearly willed the Condors to the upset over the host Big Reds, before Curie (15-1) suffered its first loss in overtime.
The two complement each other’s game. Joe is the smaller one, at 6-2, and also a left-hander. He is more of a slasher who is very good off the dribble and a powerful, quick jumper. At 6-5, Josh is lanky and the better pure shooter.
In Alexander’s absence, Josh utilized the open floor in demonstrating a complete game. He shot 10 of 15 in scoring a game-high 25 points against Muskegon. He also showed tremendous athleticism, especially throwing down a tip dunk of one of his brother’s missed shot.
“People have said, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, and I could just shoot,” Josh Stamps said. “I had to show them what else I could do.” Josh Stamps was second-team all-tournament at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and hit a three-pointer against at the buzzer West Aurora to send that semifinal into overtime, where the Condors won on Alexander’s tip dunk.
“He really opened some eyes at Pontiac,” Oliver said.
He also scored a game-high 17 points in the championship victory over Simeon.
“Josh is a complete player,” Oliver said. “I think he’s one of top five or 10 juniors in the state. He showed he can do a lot of things [against Muskegon] off the dribble. He gets his 13 points, and five or six rebounds. The most important thing is he really defends, and always against bigger and taller players.”
Josh has drawn recruiting interest from DePaul, SIU, Detroit and Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Joe scored in double figures in four Pontiac games. He has finally been able to string together an entire season for the Condors. Academic and disciplinary infractions have caused him to miss parts of his first three years.
“Joe’s a good basketball player,” Oliver said. “He can score. He missed so much time. If he could ever put it together, he could really be a good college player down the line.”
Joe joined Curie in the second semester last year and proved an offensive spark, especially in the city and state tournaments. By his own admission, his game is rusty and he is still working on his conditioning.
“I have to get the feel of the game back,” Joe said. “I’ve been playing pretty well so far. I’m working more on my defense,” he said. Joe is on the radar of some of the top national junior colleges. “I feel like I’m going back to the old me.”