With James Wiseman, Vernon Carey Jr., Oscar Tshiebwe, and Isaiah Stewart committing elsewhere over the last few months, Kentucky’s frontcourt options for the class of 2019 are dwindling down. Elite prospects Matthew Hurt, Jaden McDaniels, and Keion Brooks are still on the board, but you could argue none of those players are true big men.
Last week, however, a brand new prospect for the class of 2019 surfaced: 6-foot-10 power forward Isaiah Todd.
|Isaiah Todd (2020)
Power Forward | 6-10 | 205 lbs.Richmond, VA| Trinity Academy Of RaleighAAU: Team Loaded VA
|ESPN||No. 8 | 4 PF||Top247||No. 18 | 3 PF|
|Rivals||No. 15 | 2 C||247 Comp.||No. 13 | 2 PF|
According to Corey Evans of Rivals.com, Todd, the No. 8 player in the class of 2020, is “investigating the proper avenues for a reclassification into the 2019 class and thus, a college enrollment this fall.”
KSR has since confirmed this report, adding that there would be mutual interest between Kentucky and the elite forward prospect should he decide to make that jump.
With Todd potentially joining the list of targets for the upcoming class, KSR reached out to the 6-foot-10, 205-pound prospect’s head coach at Trinity Academy (NC), Bryan Burrell, for an interview.
During our conversation, we talked about Todd’s overall skillset, what it’s like to coach him, who he is as a person, whether or not he’d be able to make an impact right away in 2019, and an update on his recruitment/reclassification status.
KSR: What is it like to coach Isaiah Todd?
BB: “It’s the same as coaching the 15th man on our roster. He’s a great kid, he’s very coachable. He’s shown a lot of leadership this year as far as if a guy doesn’t know a certain play or defensive scheme, a lot of times it’s just the assistant coaches that stop practice, but sometimes he decides to take the lead and stop practice for a few minute so he can explain technique or positioning to a teammate, which is awesome for his age. His leadership qualities are tremendous, and I’m sure they’ll only continue to improve.
KSR: How has Isaiah adjusted in the move (from John Marshall (VA) to Trinity Academy (NC)) and how has he fit in with everyone else?
BB: He fits in very well, not just with the guys on his team but the students in general in our community. He’s done a great job as far as immersing himself as far as going to volleyball and soccer games, attending different events in the community with the players on his team. The biggest thing to take away from it is that he’s not just a basketball player, he’s a great person.
KSR: Most recruiting outlets have him listed at 6-foot-10, 200 pounds. Would you say that’s accurate right now?
BB: Yeah, I would say that is accurate. This summer he put on more muscle mass, so if he’s not 200 (pounds), he’s probably 205 or 210 with muscle. He has put on good weight, and I’d probably say that will be his playing weight going forward throughout his basketball career.
KSR: Do you think there is any room to grow height-wise?
BB: I think so, I think he might snag another inch. His wingspan is already pretty long, he’s kinda fully developed as far as his lower body is concerned, as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he snags another inch or two before he reaches that 20-21 year-old range.
KSR: As far as his actual on-court abilities go, obviously he likes to shoot mid-range jumpers, can hit shots from anywhere on the court, good inside, nice touch. What is his on-court presence like from your perspective?
BB: He can pretty much do it all, the last few years he relied on his jumper a little more, but this year he has done a great job mixing it up at the low-post position. He has shot tremendously well as a catch-and-shoot shooter from the three-point line. He’s also added the ability to consistently drive to the rim, whether it be from catching it at the elbow or the three-point line. He’s done a great job mixing it up.
Moving forward, he’s going to be a player that not only makes an impact at the offensive end, but the ability to have a major impact on the defensive end whether it be with weakside blocks, chasedown blocks, being able to guard multiple positions.
KSR: How much has he improved on the defensive end of the floor? What is his potential like on that side?
BB: I think moving forward he’s going to be able to guard three positions on the floor for you. He’ll be able to bang inside on the low-post for you, guard more fours and threes. He’s done a great job this year in working in his stance, using his wingspan to get multiple deflections each game. The stats don’t always show it, but his deflections have improved tremendously this year.
KSR: ESPN has Isaiah at No. 8 in the nation, he’s a consensus top-15 player. What separates him from the rest of the class? Do you see him moving up in the rankings?
BB: I haven’t had the chance to see everyone in the rankings, so I can’t give you a judgement as far as that goes, but I think he has a genuine shot at being the No. 1 player in the country. As long as he continues to work hard on both ends, what he brings to the table on offense and defense with his versatility, it just doesn’t come around very often. If he keeps improving, the sky is the limit for him.
KSR: How will his skillset transfer to the college level, and then later to the NBA style of play?
BB: It all depends on what the coach is looking for. He’s versatile enough to where if he came in and the coach wanted him to play the four, he’ll be able to do it no matter what system or schemes they’re running. Put him at the three or give him some time at the five, whatever the coach is looking for, he can do it. He’s such a coachable kid that he’s going to try to do the best he can no matter what coach he decides to play for.
KSR: The rumors have been coming out with the reclassification stuff, but the schools kind of known as the favorites before that were North Carolina, Maryland, and Oklahoma State, with Kentucky getting involved recently, as well. Have you been able to talk to him or his family about the recruitment, reclassification, and/or where he is in the process as a whole?
BB: Honestly we haven’t had any conversations, but I’ll probably be able to have that conversation when the season is over. Since we’re in the heat of the season right now, I don’t want to add any stress to him or his family. So we’ll go from there when the season ends.
KSR: If he does decide to make the jump to 2019, do you feel that he has the ability to be an instant-impact guy?
BB: Absolutely. I think one of his best qualities is that he’s able to pick things up quickly. If he was able to get there and immerse himself with his teammates and the coaching staff, and the coaching staff explained to him from day one what they were looking for specifically with production, I think he’d be able to help out a program immediately.
Trinity Academy has two regular season games left this week followed by the conference tournament starting next week on February 5, with the championship game slated for Friday, February 8th.
From there, the road to a state title begins for Burrell, Todd, and the rest of the Trinity Academy Tigers.
The NCISAA State Tournament begins on February 12 and ends February 23, so judging from Burrell’s comments, we could be just a few weeks away before we hear a pretty significant update on Todd’s recruitment/reclassification status.
The talent is certainly there, and if he can get the academic situation in order in time, we could see Todd-to-Kentucky talk heat up for 2019.