Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Roselle (N.J.) Catholic coach Dave Boff wishes he could suit up Isaiah Briscoe for Thursday night’s tilt against rival Linden, but he will have to wait a few days.
After sitting out the state-mandated 30 days following his transfer from St. Benedict’s Prep, Briscoe is set to make his debut Monday against Miller Grove (GA) in the Flyin’ to the Hoop Invitational in Dayton, Ohio.
“I was hoping he was going to be able to play both games in Ohio, but it looks like he’s going to have to wait until Monday,” Boff, whose team is ranked No. 16 nationally by USA Today and faces Northland, Ohio on Saturday in Dayton, told SNY.tv.
“My hope was that he would be able to play on Saturday because the game was originally scheduled for Sunday when the event was booked, and I was hoping that we would be able to get some relief, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case.”
Ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals, the 6-foot-3 Briscoe transferred to Roselle Catholic from St. Benedict’s last August. At St. Ben’s, he teamed with current Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and Pitt freshman forward Mike Young to lead the Gray Bees to the final of the ESPN NHSI event, where they were stunned by coach Kevin Boyle’s Montverde (Fla.) Academy team on a last-second 3-pointer by LSU commit Jalyn Patterson.
At about the same time that Briscoe left St. Ben’s, 6-5 guard Malachi Richardson left Roselle Catholic for Trenton Catholic, opening up a much-needed spot in the RC backcourt for Briscoe. Richardson recently committed to Syracuse.
(Ironically, Roselle Catholic and St. Benedict’s will square off Jan. 31 in the Newark National Invitational at Essex County College.)
Boff expects big things from Briscoe, who is likely to team in the backcourt with 2016 guard Asante Gist.
“He’s just going to take some pressure off of all our other guys,” Boff said of Briscoe. “He’s obviously a high-level scorer. He’s one of the most unselfish kids I’ve seen. He truly makes each of his teammates better and that’s the best compliment I could ever give a player.
“So not only when he gets on the court are we going to get his production, but I think we’re going to get a higher level of production from all of our other guys because of the fact that he does make everybody around him better.”
Roselle Catholic will now feature several players being recruited at the highest levels in Briscoe and Gist along with bigs Chris Silva, Pierre Sarr and Ganlandou Cisse.
“I’m going to encourage both those guys [Gist and Briscoe] to play to their strengths and that’s the best way you can do it,” Boff said.
As for his recruitment, Briscoe is being courted by Syracuse, Arizona, Louisville, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. John’s.
“Everybody’s really making a great effort to be involved as much as they possibly can,” Boff said.
“The local schools obviously are around more often than the schools out of state just because of their proximity. I think Isaiah right now is very much wide open.
“We have Louisville coming in [Jan. 28] when we get back to Jersey. Coach [Rick] Pitino will be coming to one of the games to see him. I actually spoke with Michigan State the other day, which is a team that Isaiah mentioned he would be interested in, so they’re going to be in here the next couple of weeks.”
Of St. John’s, Boff said, “St. John’s is very active.”
Boff added: “So I think right now he’s totally wide open and he’ll worry more about the recruiting side of it in the spring and the summer.”
Monmouth was at Roselle Catholic Wednesday checking out 6-4 sophomore Matt Bullock and 6-6 junior Pierre Sarr.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.