Josh Haskell wants to be the latest member of the Hughes and Haskell family tree to become a Division I athlete.
He’s taking a big step before his senior year toward reaching that goal.
Haskell, a 17-year-old rising senior, grew up in Franklinville, where his older sisters Ally and Dani starred on the basketball court, with the latter winning a state championship in her junior year. After his freshman year, Josh transferred to St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, a private Catholic school and a power in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.
But after two years at Joe’s, Haskell is making another change, traveling to Northeast Ohio to attend Western Reserve Academy for his final scholastic campaign.
Haskell first heard of the boarding school, located in Hudson, Ohio, from a teammate on his travel team City Rocks, who already went there and encouraged him to join.
“He wanted me to go there, thought it would be a great idea,” Haskell said. “So we kind of looked into it and with the education that I’d be getting and the level of basketball they play … they play a national schedule so we’d be all over the country playing the best teams in the country. After seeing the school, it was just something we felt we really couldn’t pass up.
“He really introduced me to it, we kind of looked it up online, and once we really started to take the idea seriously about going through with the opportunity and actually going there, then we were able to go up there and visit and see what it’s like. I just really fell in love with the school, fell in love with the campus and great coaching staff. That’s ultimately what helped me make my decision.”
IN HASKELL’S two years at St. Joe’s, he developed into one of the region’s top players.
He earned All-Western New York Fourth Team honors this year after helping Joe’s capture the Manhattan Cup (MMAA championship). A 6-foot-7 guard with size and a shooting stroke, Haskell averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
“I definitely loved it there,” Haskell said of St. Joe’s. “It was a lot different than Franklinville. Franklinville’s good, St. Joe’s is a bigger school playing better competition and it was great to finally play up in Buffalo, play those bigger schools, and I felt like with coach Gabe (Michael), he helped me to become a lot better player and a lot better teammate playing against that better competition.”
Haskell had 15 points in a 76-67 win over Bishop Timon in the championship to help secure the school’s first Manhattan Cup title in more than a decade.
“Personally, for myself, I think there’s always room for improvement,” Haskell said in reviewing his junior year. “I think there’s a lot of things I could have done better. But for the year that we were given, we were just really thankful to be able to play and we really made the most out of the year.
“We only had one loss and we played phenomenal as a team and we were able to win a Manhattan Cup, which is something that hadn’t been done by St. Joe’s in a while. We just were able to push past all the hard times that COVID brought and we were able to really achieve the goal that we wanted to from the beginning of the year.”
BOTH OF Haskell’s older sisters currently play Division I sports, with Ally at St. Bonaventure for softball and Dani at Canisius for basketball.
“My family’s always been a big sports family,” he said. “With basically everyone in my family playing a college sport, I’ve always wanted to follow in their footsteps, and a lot of my family is all basketball players, that’s what I wanted to do. After playing nationally with my travel team and seeing how good players really can be and how hard people work, I wanted to do that as well, and if I could play at that Division I level and go to school for free and get a great education while also playing basketball, which is something that I love, there’s nothing really better than that. Especially because it’s something my family would enjoy watching and something my family would love to see.”
HASKELL HAS stayed busy this summer, playing travel tournaments in Georgia, Maryland and Albany. He heads out to Ohio this Sunday and thinks he has a lot to offer Western Reserve’s basketball team.
“I love the coaching staff out there, I’ve been talking with the head coach a lot,” he said. “I think I can contribute a lot to the team being a scorer … not only a scorer, because I’m coming in as a senior, I’m a new guy to the team, but I still think that even being new, I can be a real leader — vocal leader and leader with how I play and my actions on the court and off.”
Haskell didn’t seem concerned about living away from his family and friends for the first time in what could be a college-like experience.
“New opportunities bring new experiences and I’m just looking forward to that,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll be a little weird at first but I know that with all the people I’m going to meet there at school, I’ll be able to settle in quickly. As long as I’m focused on basketball and school, there’s nothing really better than that.”
(Salamanca Press sports editor Sam Wilson may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)