SAN ANTONIO (NBA) - The San Antonio Spurs have a very good track record when it comes to identifying talented players from abroad.
There have been France's Tony Parker, Argentina's Manu Ginobili and Brazil's Tiago Splitter, all members of the current squad.
San Antonio also drafted Luis Scola when he was still a player in Europe but never managed to get the Argentinian in a Spurs uniform because of his contract with Baskonia in Spain.
The Spurs ultimately sent his rights to Houston in a trade, and the Rockets were able to bring Scola to the NBA.
The latest non-U.S. player to cause a stir with the Spurs comes from north of the border.
He is young Canadian point guard Cory Joseph.
San Antonio had ample opportunity to watch Joseph last year because he was a freshman with the Texas Longhorns.
On Sunday, Joseph, who decided to turn pro instead of going back for his sophomore campaign, played 13 minutes for San Antonio in their 102-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Joseph had a couple of steals against the Suns, whose most famous player is Canadian superstar Steve Nash.
"He's a young, energetic player who is willing to stick his nose in," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, when asked why he'd used the 1.91m playmaker as much as he did against Phoenix
"For a sophomore in college (he said jokingly), I think he's pretty special."
Joseph, just 20 years old, had only played three and two minutes, respectively, in the Spurs' previous two games.
San Antonio's Richard Jefferson has been in the league a long time and he says the key for Joseph is to play defense.
"I think tonight was one of the first times he was able to get up and play defense and know how to control the offense," Jefferson said.
"He was able to direct the plays, kind of break the offense in and do the right thing.
"For him it's going to be key to continue playing defense, but he's quick, he's young, he's got a lot of energy, and he's going to use that to his advantage. "
Joseph competed for Canada at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship in Mar Del Plata.