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.
Special to ZAGSBLOGMINNEAPOLIS — Through three and a half sessions of the Nike EYBL circuit, the Playaz Basketball Club has asserted itself as one of the best teams on the circuit, largely because of 5-star guard Isaiah Briscoe’s play.
Briscoe is averaging 18.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.6 steals.
He likes the free-flowing nature of EYBL games, and is looking for a similar style in college.
“I just want to go where I can play my game and be myself — free-flowing, open-court, and uptempo,” he told SNY.tv.
Louisville recently offered after head coach Rick Pitino watched Briscoe work out at Roselle Catholic.
“Pitino is a great guy,” Briscoe said. “He’s a Hall of Fame coach and the things he says, you can believe it because you can see it for yourself. He’s not lying and is very laid-back guy.”
Louisville has told Briscoe that he’ll be able to play immediately as a freshman, which is important to him.
“[Pitino] said that he’s never promised a freshman that he’ll play right away, but he promised me that I’ll play,” he said. “He didn’t promise a starting position, but he said that I’ll get in.”
He added: “Playing time matters. Who doesn’t want to play right away? I got to be realistic, but I want a coach who can let me play through freshman mistakes.”
Aside from Louisville, Briscoe says the schools recruiting him the hardest are Arizona, UConn, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and St. John’s.
Although nearly all of the schools on his short list are local, he claims that location is not important to him.
“Location is not a big factor,” he said. “I’m looking for a great coach that can get you to the next level. I want to get to the NCAA Tournament.”
Briscoe sees all of those things in the reigning NCAA champion UConn Huskies.
“UConn is great,” he said. “I had a visit up there, and it’s a beautiful campus. It’s cool because Coach [Kevin] Ollie just won a national championship.”
The local schools — Rutgers, Seton Hall, and St. John’s — are a attractive options as well.
“They want me to stay home,” he said. “It’s very appealing.” Briscoe also likes that he could “definitely” play right away at those schools.
St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin has built an excellent relationship with Briscoe.
“Lavin is a great coach and has a great resume,” he said. “He was at UCLA. He’s just great.”
Of Rutgers, Briscoe said, “It’s home. Rutgers is home ,man…it’s definitely appealing.”
In addition to the schools he says are recruiting him the hardest — Arizona, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, Seton Hall and St. John’s — Briscoe also holds offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Memphis, Miami, Missouri, Notre Dame, UCF, USC, and West Virginia. He plans to officially cut down his list after competing in the USA Basketball U18 tryouts in mid-June.
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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.