The college basketball season might be a month away, but most of the top programs are still heavily focused on recruiting. Top 2015 point guard Isaiah Briscoe from Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, a top target for Steve Lavin and St. John's, has arguably garnered the most attention over the past few weeks for the shifts in his recruiting horizon.
It was originally thought that Briscoe was going to stay on the east coast. However, he has now opened up his recruiting. Kentucky, UConn, and Missouri have jumped into the mix for Briscoe’s services. Briscoe still says that he may stay on the east coast, but he just wants to see what other schools have to offer.
Kentucky is one school that is really making a late push for the New Jersey native. John Calipari was a late arrival to the Briscoe race; but timing has not stopped him in the past from putting together classes stocked with elite players.
In a recent interview with NJ.com, Briscoe expressed his desire to go to a program that prepares players for the NBA.
"(We talked) about him getting people to the NBA, about how Kentucky is different from all the other college basketball teams. When you go there, you're basically treated like a pro already," Briscoe said. "Things like that. Pretty much how he gets players to the NBA. From what I've seen and what he had on paper, he does a hell of a job.
"I'm not going to say (Kentucky) is at the top of my list, but that's something that I'm definitely interested in."
Kentucky is almost an NBA feeder team. During his tenure at Kentucky, Calipari has sent nineteen players to the NBA and produced nine lottery picks. In addition, Kentucky will host its first annual NBA combine in October which will be attended by many top executives.
John Calipari’s teams have also been very successful on the court. Since Calipari took over in Lexington, the Wildcats have appeared in three final fours and have won a national championship. Briscoe will meet with Calipari later this month.
According to 247sports, St. John’s is still the favorite to land Isaiah Briscoe.
This might seem true at the moment, but a lot can change between now and the spring - and a lot is already changing.
Even with Kentucky's involvement, St. John's may have some appeal. If Briscoe attended St. John’s, he would have the ability to be the top gun for the Red Storm. St. John’s is graduating key contributors in the backcourt after this year and minutes - and highlight opportunities - would be plentiful.
Steve Lavin has not had the same success that John Calipari has had at getting guys to the NBA, but then again, most coaches haven’t. During his tenure at St. John’s, Steve Lavin has seen four of his former players sign NBA deals including Moe Harkless, who was a lottery pick. Clearly Briscoe’s dream of going to the pros can still be achieved at St. John’s.
Briscoe plans to attend St. John’s Red Storm Tip-Off, the program's Midnight Madness celebration, in October. Chrick Diallo and Brandon Sampson, the Red Storm's other top targets, will attend as well.
Besides St. John’s and Kentucky, Briscoe will look at Missouri and UConn. He has already met with Rutgers and Seton Hall, and he told NJ.com that "just because Kentucky comes, I'm not going to knock off Rutgers or Seton Hall."
Is he playing it close to the vest? Or is he wide open?
This will not be an easy decision for Briscoe as every program has something unique they can offer him. Right now, the programs in the running all hope that they have what he is looking for.