MJ: A few questions with Joseph Bertrand
During his five years at Illinois, Joseph Bertrand was a regular on the highlight reels and became just as well-known for his off-the-court humor during his last couple of seasons. Later this month, the 6-foot-6 swingman will leave Champaign and head to Luxembourg, playing professionally for BBC Arantia Larochette of the Luxembourg Total League.
How did this opportunity develop for you?
I had a couple of different possibilities. I talked to a team in Austria, a team in China, but this one seemed like the best fit for me. I’ll go out there and see where everything goes from there.
What does it mean to you to be able to call yourself a professional basketball player?
It’s a great feeling. There’s a lot of hard work still to be done, but this is a great step to get to this point and start a professional career. I’m looking forward to growing more as a player and a person.
Can you sum up your five years at Illinois?
I feel like I’ve been through everything. I’ve had injuries, had success, dealt with failure. Going through all that helped me grow and learn how to handle different situations as a player and a person. It taught me so much. I feel like it has prepared me to deal with the world.
What was your favorite memory at Illinois?
I can’t pick just one. There have been so many. Playing in the NCAA tournament and advancing was a big moment for me and for a lot of our players. The Indiana game (Tyler Griffey’s game-winner) was a big one. Being a part of that was just incredible, something I’ll remember for a long time.
What’s your favorite off-the-court memory?
Just being around my teammates, I’ve had so many of them. (Mike) LaTulip counted it up one time, but I forget the number of how many different teammates I’ve had — but it’s a lot. Being around them, meeting new people and being surrounded by so many people on a daily basis was great. Getting to know them, being on the court with them was like being out there with your family, and it’s fun to share that with them and to have had some success.
Brandon Paul started the Joe Tales a few years ago, telling funny stories about you. Do you have a favorite?
I don’t know if there is one. That’s an ongoing thing. That’s been a lot of fun.