(Toronto, On) Josiah Francis (United Scholastic Academy/Canada Elite) is a 6’9” forward whose game can be described as versatile, whether he’s dunking, defending or putting the ball on the floor, he’ll give you high-energy and leave his mark every time. For the zodiac lovers, Josiah is a Scorpio (although he laughs and says he does not really follow that stuff) who describes his life as “pretty boring” as he does not go out often, values his own space and enjoys things such as playing video games on occasion and watching Netflix. 

When asked who his current basketball Top 5 is, Francis named (in no particular order) Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid and Anthony Edwards. Family is also very important to him, and he is trying to spend as much time with his mom and siblings before he goes off to school to play for the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Knights.

 “Basketball takes up most of my time” said Francis” When I’m not playing basketball I am spending time with my siblings, and since I’m about to leave for school, I’m trying to spend as much time as I can with them because I know that they’ll miss me, especially my mom. I know when I get to school, it’ll be straight business” 

“At first it didn’t really hit me, but now that the date is coming up sooner and it’s becoming more realistic, it’s now hitting me that I’m actually a division one basketball player” 

Francis has come a long way and continues to elevate his game and work towards his goal, racking up things he is proud of on his journey

“My proudest achievement so far has been getting the offer with FDU. It’s a step in the direction that I want to go when it comes to basketball, and it’s the best thing that has happened to me so far”

Apart from basketball, one of the things that stands out the most about Josiah is his confidence. He loves being him. When asked a phrase that would describe him he responded with Believe in yourself. You can’t help but be inspired to see how he does not let the opinions of others affect him. He defines success as making his family proud, knowing he tried his best and is doing what he is supposed to be doing. He is not concerned about the lights, the cameras or if everyone else views him as successful or not, as long as he feels good about himself, that’s all that matters. 

“I feel like confidence is key and it comes down to the work you put in,” said Francis “once the cameras are off behind closed doors when no one’s watching. I’m only as confident as I am because I put in the work, even when no one is around. I feel if you can’t be confident when you’re by yourself working out, then you can’t be confident in the game, so I just carry over that confidence from when I’m in the gym to when I’m in the game” 

Francis’ confidence also helps him navigate the world of social media, where all eyes are on you, especially for athletes who can instantly get pushed into the role of public figure. Social media, however, can also be a tool for athletes to display their skills, reach a broader audience and promote themselves. As for Josiah, you can catch him posting funny videos on TikTok and Instagram, as well as find highlights on YouTube of him living above the rim and making poster worthy dunks.

“Social media depends on how you use it,” said Francis “ One hundred percent, when you are an athlete on social media, you have to be smart with the things you post and what you like and comment on, etc., but I also think as long as you follow that baseline of rules, it can be really fun. Even with me on TikTok and Instagram, I post funny videos. It’s easier to have fun on social media than to take it too serious” 

Apart from being confident, Josiah also remains grateful, while appreciating his journey and holding onto advice he received throughout his career

“I’ve received a lot of good advice that has helped me,” said Francis,” but one of the best pieces of advice I received was from one of my coaches who I’ve been with since I started playing basketball. He used to tell me to stay even keeled and not to get too high or too low with whatever happens. If you miss a shot, it’s okay, get to the next one. Have a short-term memory when it comes to basketball. I would say this has helped me the most to not get down on myself if I miss, but also not to get too happy if I’m winning”

From speaking to Francis, it is clear that he knows what he wants, and is looking forward to his new journey now that he has committed to the Knights. He appreciates those who believe in him, but if you don’t, that still won’t deter him as he already believes so much in himself. In addition to who he is on the court, who he is outside of basketball also plays a big part in his success

“I’m just a happy guy”, Francis laughed, “I carry myself the same way I am on the court when I’m off of it as well. I’m always smiling, laughing, having a good time and enjoying life. The fact that I’m alive in general is a gift, as you never know what can happen.”

Francis’ journey is only just beginning and with all that he has accomplished so far, he will only continue to go up from here, ready to create memorable plays, push his game forward, and continue to make his family proud, all with the confidence of knowing who he is and what he contributes on and off the floor.

 In the words of Francis: “One thing I love about myself is I’m not you.”

Photos courtesy of Josiah Francis

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