This is a part of a regular series on prospective American Family Insurance ALL-USA basketball players. Isaiah Briscoe, a 6-3, 200-pound senior point guard from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, has signed with Kentucky. He led the New Jersey Playaz to the EYBL title in summer basketball and has led Roselle Catholic to a 20-3 record going into Wednesday night’s game with St. Mary of the Assumption (Elizabeth, N.J.).
Recruit ranking: Listed as the No. 13 player overall and the No. 1 point guard in the 2015 class by 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Style of play: Competitive, physical guard who can convert or dish off the dribble-drive. Has good court vision. More of a scorer than a shooter. He’s strong but lacks elite athleticism. With a 6-9 wingspan, he can guard taller players.
Greatest strength: “He has an unbelievable desire to win,” Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff said. “He hates to lose at even the most silly things we do in practice. (Monday), we were doing zone offense vs. zone defense. You would have thought it was Game 7 of the NBA finals. The other thing that impresses me is he can get anywhere on the court he wants to at any time. He has such great strength.”
Jimmy Salmon, his coach with the NJ Playaz, said at times last spring and summer, Briscoe willed his team to wins.
“He’s the No. 1 leader in America,” Salmon said. “I don’t think there’s another kid who is as charismatic with his teammates and his coach. He wants the moment, he’s not shying away from it.”
His competitive fire: “I’m the youngest, so I grew up playing against my dad (George Briscoe, a former guard who is in Stockton College’s Hall of Fame), my two sisters (one of whom, Isia Hemingway, played at Georgia Tech and Syracuse and now plays professionally overseas) and my brother,” Briscoe said. “I had to work for everything I got. I just feel even on the court, I always have to work for everything.”
Working on: “Just my defense, playing for a whole possession,” Briscoe said. “I do everything well, to be honest.”
Boff said that Briscoe will have to continue to improve to thrive in college.
“I think he’s a strong ballhandler,” Boff said “At the next level, everybody is a great athlete. He has to make sure he evens that playing field. He has to make sure he’s mastered the basics and the things he can control.”
This season: He’s averaging 20.3 points, 2.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game.
Last season: He averaged 22.1 points, four assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
Big games: He put up a season-high 29 points Feb. 15 in a 63-59 defeat of Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) in the Nike Zoom City Classic in New York City. In a 71-64 loss to No. 2 Montverde (Fla.) Academy on Feb. 13, he had 18 points and three rebounds. On Jan. 31, he had 25 points, eight rebounds and four steals in a 61-46 defeat of Linden.
Compared to a pro: Boff said that Briscoe is often compared to a young Deron Williams. Salmon said Briscoe reminds him of a different pro.
“He’s like Chauncey Billups was in high school,” Salmon said. “Chauncey was probably a better athlete, but I think Isaiah has an higher basketball I.Q. earlier in his career.”
Choosing Kentucky: “He wants to win and he wants to be pushed,” said his father, George. “He’s not worried about whether he’ll be able to play because he’s confident.”