Southern forward Cody Joyce headed to Marist
Joyce, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound power forward, was no stranger to disappointment when it came to recruiting. Despite a standout senior season with the Bulldogs, Joyce finished high school with just a smattering of DI interest.
Joyce hoped things would be different with Marist, which hosted him on an official visit earlier this week. But there were no guarantees when the All-Anne Arundel County player chatted with the Red Foxes coach.
“[Martin] said I was going to be successful, I have tremendous upside … and he said that I’m the type of kid that everybody loves to be around. Twenty years from now, he can see me being a very successful person,” Joyce recalled. “[Then] I thought he was going to say, ‘But unfortunately, we’re going to go in a different direction.’ But he said, ‘We’re going to offer you.’ I ended up committing right on the spot.”
Joyce’s commitment to Marist on Tuesday capped a seemingly improbable journey from the lower levels of Anne Arundel County rec ball to Division I. As an eighth-grader, Joyce said he was cut from his school's ‘A’ team. During his first two years at Southern, he came off the bench for the junior varsity squad.
“He didn’t get a growth spurt until between his freshman and sophomore years,” said Will Maynard, Southern’s JV head coach and a varsity assistant. “By the time he got on the varsity as a junior, he grew to about 6-6 and was playing like a man. That’s when we realized he had the potential to possibly play Division I with hard work and dedication. After that you could see it. He put more emphasis on his body. He got a lot stronger over the years, put on a lot of weight.”
In the spring Joyce played for Southern’s varsity lacrosse team. In the summers, he played in select tournaments for a variety of local AAU teams. He also dedicated himself in the weight room and during individual workouts in the gym.
Joyce’s offseason dedication paid dividends during his senior season, as he averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Joyce led Anne Arundel County in rebounding, and finished his varsity career with more than 200 blocked shots and 500 rebounds. Maynard said Joyce – a “pick-and-pop 4” with range just inside the 3-point line – slowly started to gain more college interest.
“He was getting looked at by some good Division II schools – Eastern Mennonite, Wheeling Jesuit, Concord, Goldey Beacom, Holy Family in Pa., and a couple DIs showed interest,” Maynard said. “He worked out for UMBC [and] New Hampshire expressed interest. But nobody really went the extra mile. Late in the game, the possibility of prep school was looking likely.”
Joyce had nearly resigned himself to a post-grad year, until fellow Southern High grad and Princeton Day Academy prep school coach Chris Chaney intervened. Maynard said Chaney circulated Joyce’s highlight tape to coaches at Marist and South Dakota State – two programs in need of a big man. The Red Foxes were interested, and Joyce worked with Marist assistant coach Will Lanier to set up an unofficial visit.
“He was just telling me, ‘You need to come up here, you need to see the campus,’” Joyce said. “When I went up there, the coaches just showed me [around] and I just fell in love with the campus. The view and the location in that area is just great. I ended up going for an official visit [earlier this week]. I got to play with the team, got to meet pretty much all the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) community. I walked into this diner and everybody knew who I was.”
Joyce, who’s considering a major in sports communication, plans to move to New York in August. The former Bulldogs star is expected to come off the bench, play tough defense and rebound for the Red Foxes. Joyce couldn’t be more excited to have that opportunity.
“I can’t thank Coach Martin enough for giving me a chance,” Joyce said. “I’m so blessed and gracious that he offered me a scholarship. I’m excited and motivated about that. … Just getting the chance to play there in the MAAC in and of itself is living the dream.”