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.
Briscoe Leads Roselle Catholic to Fourth Straight Win; Adds Two Schools to Recruiting List
By JOHN PAVIA
Special to ZAGSBLOGROSELLE, N.J. – With each subsequent Isaiah Briscoe performance, Roselle Catholic looks more and more like a top contender to repeat as New Jersey Tournament of Champions winners, and it’s easy to see why after their 77-59 victory Tuesday over Union .
Briscoe, the 6-foot-3 junior point guard, has been a revelation for his new team, Roselle Catholic, after sitting out the state-required 30-day period when transferring schools; Briscoe transferred from St. Benedict’s Prep this offseason.
Coach Dave Boff spoke again about the impact Briscoe has on the court whether he is scoring or not.
“Isaiah’s a tremendous talent,” Boff told SNY.tv. “I think the best thing that he’s done for us is he’s raised the level of his teammates. Not only is he putting the ball in the basket and doing some good things, he’s helping our other guys play to their full potential. I thought that prior to him coming back, I wasn’t sure if some of our guys really were playing as well as they could. Since he’s been back, he’s been able to take some pressure off some guys and raise the level of the team.”
Briscoe’s ability to do just that was fully on display in the first half against Union tonight with his jump shot not falling like it usually does. He quickly found other ways to have an impact on the game by finding his teammates in dangerous areas on the court. Several deep drives into the lane allowed him to attract help defenders and dish to his teammates down low for easy lay-ups as Roselle Catholic regained a 37-32 lead by the end of the half.
“I think he was 0-for-8 in the first half, but he still found a way to assist on six or seven baskets in the first half and that’s a big deal,” Boff said about Briscoe. “When you’re not scoring the ball [and] if you’re not helping your teammates score, then you’re not helping our offense at all. He didn’t shoot it well in the first half, [but] he kept us in the game by helping his teammates get open shots. Then in the second half, his shot started to fall.”
His shot was certainly falling in the second half as Roselle Catholic began to pull away from Union. Briscoe shot 5-of-6 from the field in the second half, 1-of-1 from behind the arc and 6-of-6 from the foul line. He scored 17 of his 21 total points in the second half before coming out with a little over three minutes remaining in the game. He also finished with eight assists.
Briscoe was not particularly fazed by his poor shooting in the first half and looked to his teammates for guidance.
“As much as the guys look up to me, I actually took advice from everybody on the bench,” he said. “They’d tell me, ‘Keep shooting and keep doing your thing,’ so not only do I think I’m setting a good example, but that example I set to lead the team, it just brushes off on everybody else. I had an off game so everybody on the bench was picking me up and I think that shows how much of a family we are.”
Briscoe had previously stated his intention to cut his recruiting list, but actually told SNY.tv that he has added two schools to his current list of suitors: Providence, which has offered, and Gonzaga. In addition to these two schools, the rest of his list includes, but is not limited to Syracuse, Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Cincinnati, St. John’s and Pittsburgh.
Louisville is also involved although head coach Rick Pitino, who was supposed to attend the game, did not make it and instead watched 2014 Long Island guard Terry Harris.
With two difficult tests coming up in St. Anthony on Wednesday and St. Benedict’s Prep on Friday, Briscoe spoke about the team’s approach going forward.
“We know it’s a big week for us,” he said. “We pulled a win out here against Union. ][Wednesday] we’ve got St. Anthony’s [and] we’ve got to play great. We need to get back on our feet, just brush this win off and play hard. Then on Friday, we’ve got another big one against [St.] Benedict’s [Prep]. They’re a great team with a great coach. We’ve just got to come out, play our game and we’ll be fine.”
When asked if the game against St. Benedict’s Prep means a bit more than a regular game to him due to his transfer, Briscoe quickly played it down.
“No, I’m not that kind of player,” he said. “I’m from Union and we played Union today, but I’m not that kind of player. I just go out there and play basketball.”
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.