Isaiah Briscoe Ready To Suit Up For USA In 2015 Nike Hoop Summit
On Tuesday, April 7, 11 of the best U.S. high school basketball players gathered in Portland, Oregon, as members of the 2015 USA Junior National Select Team that will take on the World Team in the 18th annual Nike Hoop Summit on Saturday, April 11 at 12 p.m. (PDT) at the Moda Center (live on ESPN2). Isaiah Briscoe (Roselle Catholic H.S./Union, N.J.), a 6-3 guard from New Jersey, is proud to be one of them.
Despite helping USA Basketball to a gold medal as a member of the 2014 USA U18 National Team that earned a 5-0 record in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship and qualified the USA for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, Briscoe still was unsure whether he would get the call to join the USA in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit.
“I was very happy,” Briscoe said. “It was kind of surprise. But I had just come off a gold medal and had a good relationship with USA Basketball. Most of all, I just wanted to say thank you for selecting me.
“They only take 11 players, but I have worked hard, and I made it. I’m just glad to be a part of this team.”
Briscoe, who averaged 8.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists in 20.4 minutes of action per game during the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, will see five of his 2014 USA U18 teammates join him in Portland. Four more USA players collected gold medals together with USA Basketball at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship this past summer.
“There is always ways to work on team chemistry, but we are familiar with one another,” Briscoe said.
And as for the challenge of bringing together all that talent, Briscoe doesn’t see it as a challenge at all.
“Actually, I like playing with a lot of great players,” he said. “It makes it easy for the point guard, and it makes it easy for me playing with other great guards and big men.”
Briscoe also admitted, however, that playing with USA Basketball in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship taught him about being a good teammate on the bench, too.
“Regardless of whether you are playing or not, get on your team, because at the end of the day, we are representing the United States,” Briscoe said of what he learned this past summer. “We’re not playing for the name on our back, we are playing for the U.S., so most of all, just stay as a team and stay together.”
The USA is fortunate that all 11 of its players are familiar with international basketball and its rules, such as a 24-second shot clock and timeouts being called only by the coach and only when there is a dead ball.
“Absolutely. FIBA rules are different, but fun at the same time,” said Briscoe. “It’s just a different style of basketball playing against kids from other countries.”
Unlike last summer’s tournament, however, the USA will be playing against a World Select Team comprised of the best talent from around the world aged 19 years old or younger. And while Briscoe admits he doesn’t know much about the World Team roster, he is ready for big-time competition.
“I just wanted to go out on top,” Briscoe said. “My last year of high school, I just wanted to win everything.”
Briscoe has come close to doing just that. As a senior at Roselle Catholic High School in 2014-15, he averaged 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game to help his team to a New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public B championship and a Tournament of Champions title. He scored 27 points in the final game.
Not too far in the future, Briscoe will take his game to the University of Kentucky, where he has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and play basketball.
You might think Kentucky’s recent NCAA Final Four loss stung a bit for Briscoe as he watched the game, but he has a mature perspective on the game, and more patience than you might expect from an 18-year-old.
“It was crazy,” Briscoe said of Kentucky’s game against Wisconsin. “It was a good game. Wisconsin is a good team. I guess the better team won. I think Kentucky had the better team during the season, but on that day, Wisconsin was better than them."
Briscoe said watching the tournament did not make him anxious to get to the next level too soon. “I’m just taking my time, and I will get there when I get there.”
No one would blame Briscoe for wanting to enjoy the tail end of his very busy prep career. Along with the Nike Hoop Summit on Saturday, Briscoe played in the McDonald’s All-American Game last week, and he will head to New York for the Jordan Brand Classic next week.
“I like being busy with basketball for the most part, traveling the world, seeing different things,” said Briscoe. “It is a good experience. I’ve never been to Portland before.”
He is working to take his game to the next level, of course, and the Nike Hoop Summit will be another opportunity for him to sharpen his skills.
“I’m just trying to be a better overall point guard and a better leader,” he added.
Don’t miss your chance to see Briscoe and his USA teammates in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 11. If you are in the Portland area, get your tickets at usab.com/nikehoopsummit.